Crimean Tourism: A Bizarre Mix

Tourism in Crimea is almost as old as tourism itself. Throughout its history, the Crimea was conquered numerous times, with occupying powers not only valuing its strategic location, but also its climate and natural beauty. In the 20th century Crimea became the number one tourism destination in the former Soviet Union. Vacationers from Russian, Belarus, and Ukraine relaxed on its beaches and in its sanatorium.

After the fall of the Soviet Union tourism on Crimea took I brief dip. But soon tourists from former Eastern Bloc countries returned. The initial Western tourists’ trickle became a modest stream after the visa regulations were eased in 2005. Now the tourism industry in Crimea is starting to look west, and it is the strange side-by-side existence of old Soviet style sanatoriums, with excessive western entertainment, that creates a unique and sometimes bizarre mix. Ranging from a 4-week-long non-stop disco party called the KaZantip Festival, to beaches littered with concrete structures; from Soviet-style spas and therapeutic mud baths to popular foam discos – anything goes…