Gurzuf in the Fall


During the summer, the sky is nearly always blue. It’s difficult to take a photo to make it look beautiful. It’s blue and that’s that.
But the fall fills it with clouds which layer themselves all over.
I don’t like an empty sky.
And I don’t like the summer in Crimea.
I love the fall, when everyone leaves and yearning begins.

The view on Gurzuf from Ayu-Dag.

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The Renovation of Gurzuf

Gurzuf was painted by Korovin, Shishkin, and Ayvazovskiy.
It’s artists’ Mecca. Even today the old town is full of artists, painting the city, mountains, and the sea. Cypress trees, fig trees, red roofs at one’s feet, balconies, cobblestoned narrow alleys.
They say that Gurzuf renovation plans include its waterfront and parts of the old Gurzuf. I haven’t seen the plan, only heard of it from those who’ve seen it. They want to take down part of the old Gurzuf, along the Chekhov Street. And want to remodel the waterfront.
My grandfather, Lev Knipper and his whole family including his aunt Olga Leonardovna Knipper-Chekhova and the writer’s daughter Maria Pavlovna Chekhova, have lived in this part of the town almost without a break. Many famous people lived and live there still. The place exudes history. These are most beautiful places, old and full of character.

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Crimea’s Legends

There is an unusual place in Gurzuf, on Chekhov’s Street.
There used to be a faucet there from which anyone could get water. There were many such “fountains” all over this old town. Even in the ’90s they were all over. Then these spots were covered over with concrete and the valves were shut off. Only their pedestals remain.
A mirror appeared on one of them, with bread next to it.

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Velvet Crimea

Crimea in autumn can vary. One day there is a strong wind blowing, with trees bending down along the roads. Storms waves beat the rocks, the air is crisp and clear, and there are far fewer people though it is still the tourist season.
Another day, the sun can be blazing so much so that it seems it’s still summer.
It seems this is the best time for these spots.
Today it’s cooler, though the sea remains warm.
I’m sitting in the garden, wrapped in a blanket, and am catching the neighbor’s Vai Vai.

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Wild Crimea

I recently brought acquaintances to my favorite beach in Gurzuf. Wild beach, of course.
The visitors looked at the rocks and boulders blocking the access to the sea and looked at me quizzically: “So, where’s the upside?”
I did not expect this question, so I mumbled something about beauty.
My verbal arsenal did not contain anything capable of explaining the love for wild Crimea.
This peninsula is the site of one sacred place which also has no “upsides.
Maybe it’s good that it doesn’t.
Don’t go there.

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Pining for a failed tourist season

Listen, this is too much already.
In response to my posts about the massive crowds of people in Crimea, I was inundated by a whole slew of “evidence” from who knows who purporting to show there are no tourists in Crimea. “Crimean banderites” are rubbing their hands in Schadenfreude. Bad weather, photos of empty beaches at closed resort beaches, proving the absence of tourists.
Whom are you trying to convince?

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Vacationing in Crimea

Today I encountered aspersions being cast on Crimea by someone who’s visited it.
“Tickets are expensive, transportation horrible. Yes, there’s nature, and mountains, and the sea. But the infrastructure! Next year, only Turkey!”
That really hit a nerve, and I still haven’t gotten over it.
Dear me, you still don’t get it, do you? Crimea is not Turkey, or Spain.
Crimea is…Crimea. And it’s good because it’s Crimea and not something else.
If your idea of vacation is stuffing yourself with food until others have to carry you, you need to go somewhere else.
Crimea is not like that.
Crimea is wonderful because it’s wild. It will remain wonderful as long as it stays that way.
Please, don’t pave it over with asphalt!
It doesn’t need high-rises, thousands of shawarma stands and identical motels.
May it retain its sense of freedom.
Laspi, Cape Aya, the alleys of Simeiz and Gurzuf. It is unbelievably diverse–you can find anything you want there. It’s diverse, but wild! And it’s good as long as it stays that way.
Now, point by point.

The view from Bear Mountain onto Artek, Gurzuf, with Yalta in the background.

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The conflict around Artek

There was a public meeting last weekend in Yalta concerning Artek’s beaches and lands.
This is a very complicated situation.
Gurzuf’s inhabitants want to keep the beach which Artek wants to use for yet another youth camp.
The conflict is over the legal status of this sizable and important patch of coastal land.

View on the Artek camp from the Lenin monument square
(без названия)

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Crimean amusements

When I was 9, my brother brought me to Gurzuf’s Spasalka pier. When a steamer approached the shore, it was immediately mobbed by the locals. The captain was yelling from the bridge, the vacationers were muttering in awe on the pier, while the parents of younger “participants” were shaking their fists from the shore.
I couldn’t reach either the anchor or the  ladder.
–Grab a leg.
The brother shouted when the propellers were already spinning, so I grabbed his leg. I was seriously frightened but I couldn’t let go.
Other kids have grabbed my legs, thus creating a long chain.

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“Are those your kids?”

–Young lady, are those your kids?
–What kids? Where?
And I take off running through the gardens.
There is a certain type of woman in the world who considers it her duty to be horrified by barefoot kids in the streets, or kids swimming in the sea during a storm.

A shark will come and get you!

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