Gaspra: Sights and Entertainments
Gaspra is a small and cozy village on the Black Sea in the Crimea, located 10 km from Yalta. This is one of the warmest resorts of the peninsula, and many will like it, as supporters of active recreation, and those who like to bask in the sun on the beach. By the way, Gaspra there are a lot of them – both pebble and sand. Also there are a lot of interesting places – architectural monuments, historical sights and various resort attractions.
What can I see in Gaspra on my own?
The most beautiful places and main attractions of the city and surroundings: photos with descriptions, tips on where to go, where to go by car and what to see in a day.
The Swallow’s Nest is an architectural monument located at the top of the Avrora cliff in the Gaspra settlement. In 1912 P.L.Shteyngel, Russian oil industrialist, ordered to build here a castle in Gothic style, now one of the most famous sights in Crimea.
After the earthquake in 1927, part of the rock beneath the castle collapsed into the sea, but the building itself remained virtually intact. Since early 1960s the castle has been regularly restored, its foundation has been reinforced, and nowadays its reconstruction is also planned.
The castle and its surroundings are open for visitors. Tours and exhibitions, as well as festive events and concerts are held there.
- Address: Gaspra, Alupka highway 9A.
Harax Roman fortress
Charax fortress is a remnant of the Roman military camp that was located at Cape Ai-Todor in Crimea. The history of this fortress, according to archaeologists, dates back to the 60s of our era, when the Romans built it in order to control the southern coast of Crimea.
The fortress was abandoned in the III century, it was partially destroyed, later it was occupied by the Goths, and then in its territory appeared a fishing village. Excavations in the area began in the 30-ies of the twentieth century and continue to this day.
Archaeological research revealed fragments of the walls of the fortress, barracks, thermae, aqueduct and other buildings, as well as household items: coins, amphorae, etc.
- Address: Gaspra, Haraksky Park, the territory of the sanatorium “Dnepr” (Highway 13, Alupka)
The lighthouse at the cape Ay-Todor
The lighthouse at the Cape of Ay-Todor is one of the oldest lighthouses in Crimea. It was built in 1835 by Admiral Lazarev. In 1876 was built a new tower of lighthouse, which had to be restored more than once after the hostilities in the Crimea.
In 1947-1948 you could also reconstruct it, and then the lighthouse acquired its modern look. During its history the lighthouse stopped working only three times, and all three times were connected with wars, so it is active, and to enter the tower you have to get a pass.
The area around the lighthouse is open to the public, and nearby is Harak Park. There are oaks and pistachio trees, one of which is at least 1000 years old, growing not far from the lighthouse.
- Address: Gaspra settlement, Alupka highway, Cape Ai-Todor
Also called the Palace of Countess Panina is a beautiful architectural structure. It was built by order of Prince A. N. Golitsyn in the 30s of the 19th century. The palace is a striking example of romanticism in architecture of the time: jagged towers and high Gothic windows cast thoughts about knightly tournaments and beautiful ladies.
After the death of the first owner the estate began to fall into disrepair, but when the owner became Countess S. V. Panina, the castle was extensively renovated. It was Countess Panina who let the palace as a dacha for Leo Tolstoy. It was here that he wrote his story “Hadji Murat”, and now there is a small writer’s museum in the palace.
In 1922 in the palace was opened a sanatorium, which operates today.
- Address: Gaspra, 52, Sevastopolskoe shosse.
This villa belonged to the House of Romanov, which was built in 1906-1908. The uniqueness of the palace is that it is made in different styles, from Gothic to Art Nouveau. The architect was N.P. Krasnov, and in this work he showed himself not only as a designer, but also as a designer and landscape designer.
Each side of the palace has its own characteristics, and in combination with the observation decks and the beautiful park, the palace is truly fascinating. On the territory around the palace you can see up to 200 species of coniferous and deciduous plants.
In 1922 a sanatorium of the same name was opened in the palace, and in 1955 it was renamed: the sanatorium was called “Dnepr”, and it still carries that name.
- Address: Gaspra, Alupka, 13, Bldg. 1
They are also called “stone boxes”; they are ancient constructions made of huge stone blocks. There are two complexes of Taurian dolmens in Gaspra.
The first complex is located in close proximity to the Solar trail, and the second one is a bit farther. Dolmens are quite neglected, but for fans of mysteries and riddles of history are of undoubted interest, as well as any megalithic structure.
Each complex consists of 4 chambers, some even have preserved covers. You can find dolmens not far from the Oreanda-Gaspra highway: take the Sunny Path from the Swallow’s Nest, go down the stairs, pass through the tunnel and turn next to the iron mushroom-shaped canopies.
- Address (coordinates): Latitude 44.436452 – Longitude 34.109667
Saint Nina Church
The church of St. Nina and the Transfiguration is a part of the Romanovs’ Gaspra estate. Its construction began in 1906, and she was fully decorated in 1912. The church was founded by Prince G.M. Romanov in honor of the recovery of his eldest daughter Nina.
Built on the project of N. P. Krasnov, it is a fine example of the Georgian-Byzantine style in architecture. The carved ornamental decorations, made on the motifs of the Transcaucasus, give the church an identity.
The restoration of the church began in 1992 and still continues to this day, so the church can only be viewed from the outside. However, believers can pray in the church in honor of the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is located near the church of St. Nina.
- Address: Gaspra, Alupka, 12/4
Gaspra has 2 ropeways: one is 250 m long and the other is 780 m long. Both roads descend to the beach, one begins near the hotel “Marat”, the other near the pension “Yasnaya Polyana”.
The cable car in the mountainous area is not only a means of transportation, but also a very interesting attraction that can leave a lasting impression of the beautiful views that open up when you descend from the mountains to the sea.
On the so-called “ropeway” there are both open (for those who are not afraid of height and wind) cabins, and closed – for travelers with children or for windy and rainy weather.
- Address: Alupkinskoe highway, 60 and Sevastopol highway, 52
Czar’s Path, or Solar Path, is a hiking route between Gaspra and Oreanda. Initially it was not that long and ran only along Oreanda, and was used for walking and horseback riding of the royal persons, their relatives and guests. However in 1901. Nicholas II ordered to lengthen the trail so that it connected the two estates of the Romanov House – Livadia Palace and the Ai-Todor Estate, and thus the length of the trail was just under 7 km.
It was an ambitious idea to lay out such a long trail in mountainous area, because it was necessary to avoid sharp drops in elevation and pressure, but the trail is called Horizontal for a reason: it is suitable even for children.
- Address: Gaspra, 8 Sevastopol highway
The Ai-Todor manor was bought by the House of Romanovs in 1869, and since that time up to 1912 the stables, the dining-room, the barracks, and certainly the jewel of the manor – the palace – were built and finished here.
Built by N. P. Krasnov in the Art Nouveau style, it reflects the hobbies of its owners – the walls were decorated with bas-reliefs in the ancient style (only a few survived), and the Grand Duke A. M. Romanov was a famous lover of art, history and archeology.
A great part of exhibits in Crimean museums came from his collection, which was nationalized after the Revolution. In 1921 the rest house of metallurgists was opened in the estate, then – a sanatorium for patients with tuberculosis, and then – a children’s sanatorium, which was named after Rosa Luxemburg, and operates to this day.
- Address: Gaspra, Sevastopol highway 8
This is one of the palaces that belonged to the House of Romanov in the Crimea. Built just two years (1895-97) in the Moorish style by order of Prince P.N.Romanov, it is another example of the creative idea of the architect NP Krasnov.
The white and blue asymmetrical building, decorated in the spirit of Arabic fairy tales, seems to float above the park laid out round the palace, which has several terraces, fountains and sculptures. The domes with spires, wrought iron lattices on the balconies, intricate ornamental patterns, the very shape of arched passages and windows – all this seems to have come down from the pages of “1000 and One Nights”.
It was in this palace that some members of the House of Romanov found their last resting place before the emigration. Today the palace is a sanatorium.
- Address: Koreiz, Alupka highway, 19
Nowadays there is a juniper grove in Gaspra not far from the buildings of sanatorium “Dnepr” or Palace Haraks. The air here is saturated with sunshine, sea and relict juniper, and a walk through these remarkable places will not leave indifferent any lover of history and antiquities (you can see the bas-relief of a Roman fortress, an ancient necropolis and a copy of an ancient pavilion), nor adherents of modern leisure and recreation – nearby there is a cinema-concert hall, a terrace with a fountain and pump room. The grove descends to the viewing platforms, which offer a beautiful view of the sea.
- Address: Gaspra settlement, 13 Alupka Street, Alupka.
In Gaspra on the territory of the hotel “Kichkine” there is something that is difficult to find anywhere in Russia, except the southernmost regions – an open-air cinema. It opens in the evening and is available only in the warm season, which, fortunately, is not a problem in the Crimea.
In the cinema “Kichkine” there is a demonstration of various films and cartoons for children, so this place is quite suitable for family holidays. The area of the cinema hall is furnished with tables and seats, there is a possibility to order food and drinks for extra charge, there is a possibility to book tickets by phone.
- Address: Gaspra, Alupka highway, 1a.
The cafe offers its guests a varied menu of Caucasian and European dishes, and a wine list with local wines. You can also order hookah if you want to celebrate some event in a chamber – there is a VIP room for 6 people and you can sing karaoke or watch sport broadcasts. The average bill is about 700 rubles.
- Address: Gaspra settlement, Alupkinskoe shosse 58a
Pizzeria bar “Ostrovok”.
This bar is located near the park estate “Romantic Alexandria”. Here you can enjoy pizza, as well as a variety of snacks and a wide range of drinks. The bar is open until midnight and is highly regarded by nightlife lovers.
There is wireless Internet access and broadcasting of sports events. The average bill is about 400 rubles.
11 Gaspra sights worth seeing
On the southern coast of Crimea lurks a compact, cozy village Gaspra. Magic healing air, thick and fragrant, calm, warm sea with the most comfortable beaches in the Crimea, a long, sunny summer with the longest on the peninsula swimming season – it’s all Gaspra.
There is also wonderful nature, diverse flora, amazing landscapes, marvelous castles and palaces, cultural, historic and architectural monuments – Gaspra is rich in sights, it has something to amaze the most sophisticated traveler.
The fantastically beautiful castle “Swallow’s Nest” is one of the brightest tourist attractions in Crimea, a calling card of not only Gaspra, but of the whole peninsula. Built on the top of 40-meter steep cliffs of the Ai-Todor cape, the castle seems to hang over the waves.
The gray stepped castle with turrets is performed in Gothic style and looks similar to medieval palace. The building is relatively small, its area does not exceed 120 m², height – 12 m. Over its more than century-long history (built in 1912) the castle has changed owners and its utilitarian purpose more than once. Now it is an architectural and cultural monument that attracts all guests of Crimea.
Various exhibitions are regularly held in the castle; in the evenings you can hear the sounds of symphony orchestra, which plays in the open air. Right from the castle you can send “greetings from Crimea” by throwing a postcard to the mailbox. The beauty of the castle and its unique location was appreciated by cinematographers. Many films were shot there, the most famous of which is “10 negroes”.
Address: Swallow’s Nest, Gaspra.
This luxurious mansion has many more names – Romantic Alexandria, Countess Panina’s palace, Castel estate, Gaspra Palace, Yasnaya Polyana sanatorium. One of the first aristocratic estates in the Crimea, intended for Prince Golitsyn, was built in the 30s of the century before last. Ash color of the facade, long narrow windows, jagged turrets, and “heavy” décor of portals are as if referring back to the Middle Ages, to a mysterious Gothic castle.
After a chain of several sales the estate was sold to the landlady Sofya Panina. Due to her efforts, the Gaspra mansion became an attractive place for many creative people. Leo Tolstoy lived in the Galician palace for almost a year and wrote a few critical articles and a novel “Hadji Murat. Today in the museum room are stored evidences of the “Crimean vacations” of the great Russian writer, and in the park is his bust.
Anton Chekhov came here, Yanka Kupala stayed here, Nabokov’s family had to wait out the revolutionary turmoil. And after the change of power the creative “flair” continued working – Shostakovich, Vernadsky, Kustodiev rested in the sanatorium, opened in the palace.
Address: Palace of Countess Panina in Gaspra, Maratovskaya Street, Gaspra.
There is a picturesque path from the Livadia Palace to Gaspra. It was originally called the “Tsar Path”, because it was laid at the junction of the 19th and 20th centuries especially for Nicholas II – the emperor liked to promenade here. Funnily enough, the trail does not live up to its current “sunny” name at all. Most of it is located in the dense shade of the lush Crimean vegetation.
It is a comfortable, shady path without big drops in elevation (the elevation angles do not exceed 3°) – an ideal place for leisurely walks even with small kids. Along the way, you can admire natural and architectural sights, in addition to the magnificent scenery. There are stone signs along the trail that contain detailed information: which direction to go, how much has been walked, and what is the elevation above sea level.
Address: Sunny Trail, Gaspra.
Haraks Palace and Park
Haraks is a unique complex of natural, architectural and historical sights, it is a must-see in Gaspra.
Kharaks Palace was built by the famous Crimean architect Krasnov for his son Nicholas I at the beginning of the last century. The stylish modern mansion with its solidity and some stockiness, light facade under the red roof tiles, big windows and minimum decor reminds one of a Scottish chalet.
At the same time in the “appearance” of the palace you can see a variety of architectural trends. At the time of its construction the building caused a real furore, the similar had not been built in Russia. And to this day, the palace is considered to be the most significant work of Krasnov.
The palace is surrounded by a luxurious park, where new plants were planted along with the naturally occurring ones. Now there are more than 200 species of plants. It is noteworthy that the creation of the complex began with the breakdown of the park, and only a few years later, the construction of the palace began.
The remains of an ancient Roman fortress built at the dawn of the new era have been found on the territory of Harak Park. Archeologists found ruins of fortress walls, residential and household buildings, fragments of sculptures, household items, tools and jewelry. The places of findings are marked with memorial monuments and an exact copy of an antique pavilion was built.
Address: Haraks Palace, Alupka highway, Gaspra.
Ai-Todorsky lighthouse is the successor of the ancient lighthouse of the times of ancient Greeks living on the peninsula. The modern lighthouse was erected in 1835 on the namesake cape, the height of the fire is 87 meters above sea level, the light can be seen at a distance of 50 km. During its long “life” the lighthouse has not lit only three times – during major military operations.
In the 20th century, the lighthouse was reconstructed and equipped with modern equipment. A maritime museum was opened in the lighthouse, displaying exhibits from antiquity to the present day. Many famous personalities have visited the iconic place, including writers Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, as evidenced by a memorial plaque.
Ai-Todorsky lighthouse can “boast” of its famous neighbor – a unique longhorn tree. A huge pistachio tree, which grows near the walls of the lighthouse, is over 1000 years old.
Address: Ay-Todorsky lighthouse, Gaspra.
Saint Nina Church
St. Nina Church
Church of St. Nina was built in 1908 the estate of Prince Georgy Romanov as a house church, consecrated in the name of the Transfiguration and St. Nina. The name of the church is not accidental. Nina, the prince’s daughter, was ill with diphtheria, and she was operated on the day of the celebration of the Transfiguration. Medical manipulations were successful, and the prince, seeing in this divine providence, in gratitude named the temple in honor of the Holy Day and the heavenly patroness of his daughter, Saint Equal-to-the-Apostles Nina.
Architect Nikolai Krasnov, who was building the church, was proud of his work and considered it a great success. The small cross-domed church is executed in the Byzantine-Georgian style, laconic and harmonious, without excessive pomp and decoration.
For a long time the church was in a poor condition, once an admirable belfry and mosaic images were destroyed. Currently, the church has been restored and services are being held there.
Address: Church of St. Nina in Gaspra, Gaspra.
Near Gaspra, you can learn more about the ancient history and ancient architectural monuments – Taurian necropolis. Taurian tribes inhabited the peninsula even before our era, but archeologists have never found any vital discoveries. But burial grounds – large stone “boxes” in which the bodies of the dead were placed before burial – have not been badly preserved. As a rule, together with the dead in the burial ground were placed weapons of war and jewelry. The necropolises of Gaspra, unfortunately, were looted.
To date, found five burial grounds, three – at the beginning of the “Sunny trail”, two – a little to the side on the hill.
A juniper grove is a wonderful place in the environs of Gaspra, the main “floristic” attraction of the Haraksky Park. The park, laid out more than a century ago, was originally conceived as an ideal garden complex. The features of the existing landscape were taken into account and new plants were “supplemented” wisely. In the juniper grove, in addition to juniper, grow cedars, pistachios, palms, sequoias, oleanders, magnolias.
The air, full and saturated with the sun, the sea and the “breath” of juniper is magical and healing. A walk through the juniper grove will be appreciated by history lovers – there are many ancient artifacts in the park, and by fans of picturesque landscapes – there is an excellent view of the sea from the viewing platforms.
Address: Mozhelevaya Grove, Alupka highway, Gaspra.
The architectural pearl of the Crimea, a striking example of palace art of the 19th-20th centuries – Kichkine Dacha. In Crimean Tatar the name sounds like “little girl”. It was “invented” by Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich, acquiring a modest-sized plot of land on a rocky ledge for the construction of the family estate.
The erected structure is small. But it is exactly its diminutiveness combined with snow-white walls and exquisite, openwork decoration that make the palace a true architectural marvel. Made in the Oriental style, the building resembles a Moorish palace with turrets, high lancet windows, and a minaret. The facade is decorated with a jagged balustrade and an Arabic ligature pattern. The interior interiors were decorated in various forms, each room in its historical-architectural style. A beautiful landscape park with exotic plants was laid out around the palace.
During the Second World War, the palace was seriously damaged, and for several years it stood looted and destroyed. Qualitatively renovated only at the beginning of the 21st century, nowadays Kichkine Palace is a status hotel.
Address: Hotel Kichkine, Yalta.
The most colorful and fragrant attraction of the Crimea, “mountain meadow” in Tatar – Chair Park. A unique work of garden-architectural art was sung by the poet Arsky and composer Listovoy in the legendary novel 30s of the last century.
The “floristic ensemble” of the park counts over 300 species of plants, many of which have passed the 100-year “jubilee”. On 23 hectares, relic, rare and exotic plants grow, bloom and fragrance. Thanks to the evergreens at any time of the year the park is like a fairy oasis. And during the blooming of roses, Chair turns into a truly heavenly place.
Address: Park Chair, Alupka highway, Gaspra.
Ay-Todor cape is the seaside tip of the limestone Mogabi mountain. The cape owes its name to the St. Theodore Monastery, which stood here in the Middle Ages. Ai-Todorsky massif is also called “Neptune’s Trident”, as it consists of three rocky spurs that are different in their own way and picturesque, and invariably attractive for tourists.
The highest – the western spur Haraks with the famous Ai-Todor lighthouse, the light from which is visible from almost 50 km. On the spur stretches an amazing Haraks Park with rare and relict plants.
The eastern spur Limen-Burun is famous for the “Captain’s Bridge” – observation deck, literally overhanging over the sea, which offers a magnificent view of the coast. Opposite to the spur there is a lonely rock Sail, a favorite place of extreme divers. The central spur Monastyr-Burun is famous for the Aurora Mountain. On its top there is a Gothic castle “Swallow’s Nest” – a peculiar symbol of Crimea, and at the foot there are several underwater caves. Ichthyander’s lair from the movie “Amphibian Man” was filmed in one of them.