The Crimean Mountains are a range of mountains running parallel to the south-eastern coast of Crimea, between about 8–13 kilometers from the sea. Toward the west, the mountains drop steeply to the Black Sea, to the east, they change into a steppe landscape; the Crimean Mountains consist of three subranges. The highest is the Main range; the Main range is subdivided into several masses, known as yaylas or mountain plateaus. They are: Baydar Yayla Ay-Petri Yayla Yalta Yayla Nikita Yayla Hurzuf Yayla Babugan Yayla Chatyr-Dag Yayla Dologorukovskaya Yayla Demirji Yayla Karabi Yayla The Crimea's highest peak is the Roman-Kosh on the Babugan Yayla at 1,545 metres. Other important peaks over 1,200 metres include: Demir-Kapu 1,540 m in the Babugan Yayla; the most important passes over the Crimean Mountains are: Angarskyi Pass near the Perevalnoye village, on a road from Alushta to Simferopol Baydar Pass near Foros, connecting Baydar Valley and the sea coast Laspi Pass near Cape Aya, on a road from Yalta to Sevastopol.
Rivers of the Crimean Mountains include the Alma River, Chernaya River, Salhir River on the northern slope and Uchan-su River on the southern slope which forms the Uchan-su waterfall, a popular tourist attraction and highest waterfall in Ukraine. Archaeologists have found the earliest anatomically modern humans in Europe in the Crimean mountains' Buran-Kaya caves; the fossils are 32,000 years old, with the artifacts linked to the Gravettian culture. The fossils have cut marks suggesting a post-mortem defleshing ritual. Crimea Crimean mountains - view on all parts of mountains of Crimea Mountains of Crimea - Great collection of Crimean mountains from private mountain guide Sergey Sorokin
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'; the ROC, as well as the primate thereof ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019; the Christianization of Kievan Rus' seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia and Ukraine and parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China; the ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy. The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, another autocephalous Orthodox church, that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century; the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in the United States.
The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city; the spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Southern Russia.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. 866–867. By the mid-10th century, there was a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Bulgarian and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′, born a Christian, her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus' a Christian state. The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' is believed to have occurred in 988 AD, when Prince Vladimir was baptised himself and ordered his people to be baptised by the priests from the Eastern Roman Empire; the Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed the metropolitan, a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'. The Kiev Metropolitan's residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state; as Kiev was losing its political and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299.
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were tolerant and granted tax exemption to the church; such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Mongol rule, to expand both economically and spiritually. The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others; the followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1439, at t
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond or the Trapezuntine Empire was a monarchy and one of three successor rump states of the Byzantine Empire that flourished during the 13th through 15th centuries, consisting of the far northeastern corner of Anatolia and the southern Crimea. The empire was formed in 1204 after the Georgian expedition in Chaldia, commanded by Alexios Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople. Alexios declared himself Emperor and established himself in Trebizond. Alexios and David Komnenos and last male descendants of deposed Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, pressed their claims as "Roman Emperors" against Byzantine Emperor Alexios V Doukas; the Byzantine emperors, as well as Byzantine authors, such as George Pachymeres, Nicephorus Gregoras and to some extent Trapezuntines such as John Lazaropoulos and Basilios Bessarion, regarded the emperors of Trebizond as the “princes of the Lazes”, while the possession of these "princes" was called Lazica, in other words, their state was known as the Principality of the Lazes.
Thus from the point of view of the Byzantine writers connected with the Laskaris and with the Palaiologos dynasties, the rulers of Trebizond were not emperors. After the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade overthrew Alexios V and established the Latin Empire, the Empire of Trebizond became one of three Byzantine successor states to claim the imperial throne, alongside the Empire of Nicaea under the Laskaris family and the Despotate of Epirus under a branch of the Angelos family; the ensuing wars would see the Empire of Thessalonica, the imperial government that sprung from Epirus, collapse following conflicts with Nicaea and Bulgaria and the final recapture of Constantinople by the Empire of Nicaea in 1261. Despite the Nicaean reconquest of Constantinople, the Emperors of Trebizond would continue to style themselves as "Roman Emperors" for decades and continued to press their claim on the Imperial throne. Emperor John II of Trebizond gave up the Trapezuntine claim to the Roman imperial title and Constantinople itself 11 years after the Nicaeans recaptured the city, altering his imperial title from "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" to "Emperor and Autocrat of all the East and Perateia".
The Trapezuntine monarchy would survive the longest among the Byzantine successor states. The Despotate of Epirus had ceased to contest the Byzantine throne before the Nicaean reconquest and was occupied by the restored Byzantine Empire c. 1340, thereafter becoming a Serbian dependency inherited by Italians falling to the Ottoman Empire in 1479. Whilst the Empire of Nicaea had restored the Byzantine Empire through restoring control of the capital, it ended in 1453 with the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. Trebizond would last until 1461 when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered it after a month-long siege and took its ruler and his family into captivity, marking the final end of the Roman imperial tradition initiated by Augustus 1,488 years previously; the Crimean Principality of Theodoro, an offshoot of Trebizond, lasted another 14 years, falling to the Ottomans in 1475. Trebizond had a long history of autonomous rule before it became the center of a small empire in the late middle ages.
Due to its natural harbours, defensible topography and access to silver and copper mines, Trebizond became the pre-eminent Greek colony on the eastern Black Sea shore soon after its founding. Its remoteness from Roman capitals gave local rules the opportunity to advance their own interest. In the centuries before the founding of the empire the city had been under control of the local Gabras family, which - while still remaining part of the Byzantine Empire - minted its own coin; the rulers of Trebizond called themselves Megas Komnenos and – like their counterparts in the other two Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Nicaea and the Despotate of Epirus – claimed supremacy as "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans." However, after Michael VIII Palaiologos of Nicaea recaptured Constantinople in 1261, the Komnenian use of the style "Emperor" became a sore point. In 1282, John II Komnenos stripped off his imperial regalia before the walls of Constantinople before entering to marry Michael's daughter and accept his legal title of despot.
However, his successors used a version of his title, "Emperor and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians and the Perateia" until the Empire's end in 1461. Geographically, the Empire of Trebizond consisted of the narrow strip along the southern coast of the Black Sea and the western half of the Pontic Alps, along with the Gazarian Perateia, or southern Crimea; the core of the empire was the southern Black Sea coast from the mouth of the Yeşilırmak river, a region known to the Trapezuntines as Limnia as far east as Chorokhi river, a region known as Lazia. Geography defined the southern border of this state: the Pontic Alps served as a barrier first to Seljuk Turks and to Turkoman marauders, whose predations were reduced to a volume that the emperors could cope with; this territory corresponds to an area comprising all or parts of the modern Turkish provinces of Sinop, Ordu, Trabzon, Bayburt, Gümüşhane and coastal parts of Artvin. In the 13th century, some experts believe the empire controlled the Gazarian Perateia, which included Cherson and Kerch on the Crimean peninsula.
David Komnenos, the younger brother of the first Emperor, expanded to the west, occupying firs
Kingdom of Pontus
The Kingdom of Pontus or Pontic Empire was a state founded by the Persian Mithridatic dynasty, which may have been directly related to Darius the Great and the Achaemenid dynasty. The kingdom was proclaimed by Mithridates I in 281 BCE and lasted until its conquest by the Roman Republic in 63 BCE, it reached its largest extent under Mithridates VI the Great, who conquered Colchis, Bithynia, the Greek colonies of the Tauric Chersonesos, for a brief time the Roman province of Asia. After a long struggle with Rome in the Mithridatic Wars, Pontus was defeated; as the greater part of the kingdom lay within the region of Cappadocia, which in early ages extended from the borders of Cilicia to the Euxine, the kingdom as a whole was at first called'Cappadocia by Pontus' or'Cappadocia by the Euxine', but afterwards simply'Pontus', the name Cappadocia henceforth being used to refer to the southern half of the region included under that name. Culturally, the kingdom was Hellenized, with Greek the official language.
The Kingdom of Pontus was divided into two distinct areas: the coastal region and the Pontic interior. The coastal region bordering the Black Sea was separated from the mountainous inland area by the Pontic Alps, which run parallel to the coast; the river valleys of Pontus ran parallel to the coast and were quite fertile, supporting cattle herds and fruit trees, including cherry and pear. The coastal region was dominated by Greek cities such as Amastris and Sinope, which became the Pontic capital after its capture; the coast was rich in timber and olives. Pontus was rich in iron and silver, which were mined near the coast south of Pharnacia. There were copper, lead and arsenic; the Pontic interior had fertile river valleys such as the river Lycus and Iris. The major city of the interior was Amasia, the early Pontic capital, where the Pontic kings had their palace and royal tombs. Besides Amasia and a few other cities, the interior was dominated by small villages; the kingdom of Pontus was divided into districts named Eparchies.
The division between coast and interior was cultural. The coast was Greek and focused on sea trade; the interior was occupied by the Anatolian Cappadocians and Paphlagonians ruled by an Iranian aristocracy that went back to the Persian empire. The interior had powerful temples with large estates; the gods of the Kingdom were syncretic, with features of local gods along with Persian and Greek deities. Major gods included the Persian Ahuramazda, termed Zeus Stratios, the Moon god Men Pharnacou and Ma. Sun gods were popular, with the royal house being identified with the Persian god Ahuramazda of the Achaemenid dynasty. Indeed, the name used by the majority of the Pontic kings was Mithridates, which means "given by Mithras". Pontic culture represented a synthesis between Iranian and Greek elements, with the former two associated with the interior parts, the latter more so with the coastal region. By the time of Mithridates VI Eupator, Greek was the official language of the Kingdom though Anatolian languages continued to be spoken in the interior.
The region of Pontus was part of the Persian satrapy of Cappadocia. The Persian dynasty, to found this kingdom had, during the 4th century BCE, ruled the Greek city of Cius in Mysia, with its first known member being Mithridates of Cius, his son Ariobarzanes II became satrap of Phrygia. He became a strong ally of Athens and revolted against Artaxerxes, but was betrayed by his son Mithridates II of Cius. Mithridates II remained as ruler after Alexander's conquests and was a vassal to Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who ruled Asia Minor after the Partition of Triparadisus. Mithridates was killed by Antigonus in 302 BCE under suspicion that he was working with his enemy Cassander. Antigonus planned to kill Mithridates' son called Mithridates but Demetrius I warned him and he escaped to the east with six horsemen. Mithridates first went to the city of Cimiata in Paphlagonia and to Amasia in Cappadocia, he ruled from 302 to 266 BCE, fought against Seleucus I and, in 281 BCE, declared himself king of a state in northern Cappadocia and eastern Paphlagonia.
He further expanded his kingdom to the river Sangrius in the west. His son Ariobarzanes captured Amastris in its first important Black sea port. Mithridates allied with the newly arrived Galatians and defeated a force sent against him by Ptolemy I. Ptolemy had been expanding his territory in Asia Minor since the beginning of the First Syrian war against Antiochus in the mid-270s and was allied with Mithridates' enemy, Heraclea Pontica. We know little of Ariobarzanes' short reign, except that when he died his son Mithridates II became king and was attacked by the Galatians. Mithridates II received aid from Heraclea Pontica, at war with the Galatians at this time. Mithridates went on to support Antiochus Hierax against his brother Seleucus II Callinicus. Seleucus was defeated in Anatolia by Hierax and the Galatians. Mithridates attacked Sinope in 220 but failed to take the city, he married Seleucus II's sister and gave his daughter in marriage to Antiochus III, to obtain recognition for his new kingdom and create strong ties with the Seleucid Empire.
The sources are silent on Pontus for the years following the death of Mithridates II, when his son
The Caucasus Greeks, sometimes known as the Greeks of Trans-Caucasus and Russian Asia Minor, are the Greek-speaking peoples of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia in what is now southwestern Russia and northeastern Turkey. These include the Pontic Greeks, though they today span a much wider region including the Russian north Caucasus, the former Russian Caucasus provinces of Batum Oblast' and Kars Oblast', now in north-eastern Turkey and Adjara in Georgia. Greeks spread into these areas well before the Christian/Byzantine era as traders, Christian Orthodox scholars/clerics, refugees, or mercenaries who had backed the wrong side in the many civil wars and periods of political in-fighting in the Classical/Hellenistic and Late Roman/Byzantine periods. One notable example of such pre-modern Caucasus Greeks is the 7th-century Greek Bishop Cyrus of Alexandria from Phasis in present-day Georgia. However, these Greek settlers in the Caucasus became assimilated into the indigenous population, in particular that of Georgia, with whom Byzantine Greeks shared a common Christian Orthodox faith and heritage.
The vast majority of these Greek communities date from the late Ottoman era, are defined in modern Greek academic circles as'Eastern Pontic', as well as'Caucasus Greeks', while outside academic discourse they are sometimes defined somewhat pejoratively and inaccurately as'Russo-Pontic'. In general terms Caucasus Greeks can be described as Russianized and pro-Russian empire Pontic Greeks in politics and culture and as Mountain Greeks in terms of lifestyle, since wherever they settled, whether in their original homelands in the Pontic Alps or Eastern Anatolia, or Georgia and the Lesser Caucasus they preferred and were most used to living in mountainous areas and highland plateaux. In broad terms, it can be said that the Caucasus Greeks' link with the South Caucasus is a direct consequence of the highland plateaux of the latter being seen and used by the Pontic Greeks as a natural refuge and rallying point whenever North-eastern Anatolia was overrun by Muslim Turks in the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
Although large numbers of Greeks live in parts of Ukraine and southern Russia, such as Mariupol and Stavropol Krai, the term Caucasus Greeks speaking should be confined to those Greeks who had settled in the former Russian Transcaucasus provinces of Batum and Kars Oblast', parts of Georgia such as the region around Tsalka, central Abkhazia and other localities of the Black Sea Russian Riviera. Following the Ottoman conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1461 large numbers of Pontic Greeks left the Pontic Alps region as refugees and resettled in parts of the South Caucasus, Georgia; the son of King David of Trebizond's son George had fled there with his retinue and married a Georgian princess of the Gurieli dynasty. However, The numbers of these early Pontic Greek refugees to Georgia were in any case fairly small, so although some of the refugees managed to retain their Pontic Greek language and identity, others assimilated through intermarriage into the other Christian communities of the South Caucasus region their fellow Christian Orthodox Georgians but those Armenians or Ossetians who were Orthodox.
To complicate matters further, many so-called "Ottoman Turks" who settled in Georgia and the South Caucasus following Lala Mustafa Pasha's Caucasian campaign of the 1570s were Pontic Greeks from northeastern Anatolia who had adopted Islam and the Turkish language for official purposes but continued to use Pontic Greek in their daily lives, with one prominent example of an Ottoman Muslim Georgian of Pontic Greek origin being Resid Mehmed Pasha. These Greek Muslims who adhered to Islam in Georgia either assimilated with the Turkish-speaking Muslim population of southern Georgia defined as Meskhetian Turks, returned to parts of eastern Anatolia such as Kars following the Russian annexation of Georgia in 1801, or reverted to their Greek Orthodoxy following the annexation and reintegrated into the Greek Orthodox population of the country. According to available historical evidence we know that thousands of Pontic Greeks from Ottoman north-eastern Anatolia and the Gümüşhane region of the Pontic Alps are known to have gone to Tsalka in 1763 on being invited by King Heraclius II of Georgia to develop silver and lead mining at Akhtala and Alaverdi.
Many of their descendants survive in Georgia’s Marneuli district, although most immigrated to Greece, Thessaloniki in Greek Macedonia in the mid-1990s. It is difficult to verify the numbers of all such waves of Pontic Greeks from the Pontic Alps region to Georgia and the South Caucasus between circa 1520 and 1800, which according to Anthony Bryer is the most obscure period in the history of Pontus and the Pontic Greeks, owing to the scarcity of contemporary Greek and Ottoman Turkish sources on the subject. Modern historians suggest that following the Ottoman conquest of 1461, many, if not most Pontic Greeks retreated up into the highlands, where it was easier to maintain their culture and freedom from the encroachments of the Ottoman authorities; this movement was reinforced in the early 1600s by the growing power along the coastal valleys districts of the derebeys, which further encouraged Pontic Greeks to retreat away from the coast deeper into the hi
Greeks in pre-Roman Crimea
Greek city-states began establishing colonies along the Black Sea coast of Crimea in the 7th or 6th century BC. Several colonies were established in the vicinity of the Kerch Strait known as the Cimmerian Bosporus; the density of colonies around the Cimmerian Bosporus was unusual for Greek colonization and reflected the importance of the area. The majority of these colonies were established by Ionians from the city of Miletus in Asia Minor. By the mid-1st century BC the Bosporan Kingdom became a client state of the late Roman Republic, ushering in the era of Roman Crimea during the Roman Empire. Taurica, Tauric Chersonese, Tauris were names by which the Crimean Peninsula was known in classical antiquity and well into the early modern period; the Greeks named the region after its inhabitants, the Tauri: Ταυρικὴ Χερσόνησος or Χερσόνησος Ταυρική, "Tauric peninsula". Chersonesus Taurica is the Latin version of the Greek name; the earliest Greek colony, founded in the late 7th or early 6th century BC, was established as an apoikia of Miletus.
This important city was situated on Mount Mithridat on the western side of the Cimmerian Bosporus, in the present-day city of Kerch. During the first centuries of the city's existence, imported Greek articles predominated: pottery and metal objects from workshops in Rhodes, Corinth and Athens. Local production, imitated from the models, was carried on at the same time. Local potters imitated the Hellenistic bowls known as the Gnathia style as well as relief wares—Megarian bowls; the city minted silver coins from the 5th century BC and gold and bronze coins from the 4th century BC. At its greatest extent it occupied 100 hectares. Other Milesian colonies on the Crimean side of the Cimmerian Bosporus included Theodosia, Kimmerikon and Myrmekion. Theodosia, present day Feodosia, was founded in the 6th century BC according to archaeological evidence, it is first recorded in history as resisting the attacks of Satyrus, ruler of the Bosporan Kingdom, about 390 BC. His successor Leucon transformed it into an important port for shipping wheat to Greece to Athens.
Kimmerikon was founded in the 5th century BC on the southern shore of the Kerch Peninsula, at the western slope of Mount Opuk 50 kilometres southwest of Panticapaeum. Its name may refer to an earlier Cimmerian settlement on the site. Kimmerikon would become an important stronghold defending the Bosporan Kingdom from the Scythians. Tyritake was situated in the eastern part of Crimea, about 11 kilometres south of Panticapaeum, it is tentatively identified with the ruins in the Kerch district of Kamysh-Burun, on the shore of the Cimmerian Bosporus. There are only few short mentions about Tyritake in ancient literary sources. Archaeological projects have established that the colony, founded about the mid-6th century BC, specialized in crafts and viticulture. In the first centuries and wine production became the economic mainstay of the town. Myrmēkion was situated on the shore of the Cimmerian Bosporus, 4 kilometres north of Panticapaeum, it was founded in the mid-6th century BC as an independent polis, which soon became one of the richest in the region.
In the 5th century BC, the town specialized in minted its own coinage. It was surrounded by towered walls. Nymphaion was founded by colonists from Miletus’ rival Samos between 580 and 560 BC, it was situated of about 14 kilometres south of Panticapaeum. There is no archaeological evidence for the presence of Scythians in the area before the city's founding; the town issued its own coins and prospered in the period of classical antiquity from its control of the cereal trade. Athens chose Nymphaion as its principal military base in the region ca. 444 BC and Gylon, the grandfather of Demosthenes, suffered banishment from Athens on charges that he had betrayed Nymphaeum during the Peloponnesian War. It was annexed to the Bosporan Kingdom by the end of the century. In the 5th century BC, Dorians from Heraclea Pontica on the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor founded the sea port of Chersonesos in southwestern Crimea, it was a site with good deep-water harbors located at the edge of the territory of the indigenous Taurians.
During much of the Classical Period, Chersonesus was a democracy ruled by a group of elected archons and a council called the Demiurgi. As time passed the government grew more oligarchic, with power concentrated in the hands of the archons. Up to the middle of the 4th century BC, Chersonesos remained a small city, it expanded to lands in northwest Crimea, incorporating the colony of Kerkinitida and constructing numerous fortifications. In 2013, Chersonesus was listed as a World Heritage Site. Kerkinitida is the earliest colony in northwestern Taurica, located near present-day Yevpatoria, it was founded around the turn of the 6th-5th centuries BC by Dorians of Herakleia Pontika, or by another unknown Ionian city-state. Until the middle of 4th century BC the city was a small independent city–state, before being incorporated into the city-state of Chersonesos. In the 2nd century BC Kerkinitida was captured by the Scythians, but retaken in the second campaign of Diophantus. According to archeological finds, the city lasted until around the turn of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
Odessa Oblast is an oblast of southwestern Ukraine, located along the northern coast of the Black Sea. Its administrative center is the city of Odessa; the region, the largest in Ukraine by area, is the size of Belgium. The length of coastline reaches 300 km; the region has eight sea-ports, over 80,000 ha of vineyards, five of the biggest lakes in Ukraine. One of the largest, Yalpuh Lake, is as large as the city of Odessa itself. Odessa, the administrative center of the oblast, is the third-largest city in Ukraine; the town has become known in Ukraine as the "Black Sea Pearl" or as the "Southern Palmyra". Odessa became the first city in Ukraine to see a car, with the internal combustion engine brought to the city in 1891 by Vasiliy Navrotskiy, the chief editor of Odesskiy Listok. After Catherine the Great founded Odessa, one of her foreign military commanders, José de Ribas, brought the lava for making the cobblestones on vulytsia Deribasivska from the Vesuvius volcano near his native Naples. Under that street are the Odessa catacombs, which purportedly exceed the expanse of the catacombs in Paris or Rome.
Evidence of the earliest inhabitants in this area comes from the settlements and burial grounds of the Neolithic Gumelniţa, Cucuteni-Trypillian and Usatovo cultures, as well as from the tumuli and hoards of the Bronze Age Proto-Indo-Europeans. In the 1st millennium B. C. the Milesian Greeks founded colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea, including the towns of Olbia, Niconium and Chersonesus. The Greeks left behind painted vessels, sculptures, inscriptions and crafts that indicate the prosperity of their ancient civilisation; the culture of Scythian tribes inhabiting the Black Sea littoral steppes in the first millennium B. C. is represented by finds from settlements and burial grounds, including weapons, bronze cauldrons, other utensils, adornments. By the beginning of the 1st millennium A. D. the Sarmatians displaced the Scythians. In the 3rd–4th centuries A. D. a tribal alliance, represented by the items of Chernyakhov culture, developed. From the middle of the first millennium the formation of the Slavic people began.
In the 9th century the Slavs became united into a state with Kiev as its centre. The Khazars and Pechenegs were the Slavs' neighbours during different times. Archeological evidence of the period of the 9th–14th centuries survives in materials from the settlements and cities of Kievan Rus': Belgorod, Caffa-Theodosia, Berezan Island. In 1593 the Ottoman Empire set up in the area what became known as its Dnieper Province, unofficially known as the Khanate of Ukraine. Russian historiography refers to it as the Ochakov Oblast; the territory of the Odessa oblast passed to Russia in 1791 in the course of the Russian southern expansion towards the Black Sea at the end of the 18th century. After the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia the area became part of the Ukrainian People's Republic, but soon succumbed first to the Russian Volunteer Army and to the Russian Bolshevik Red Army. By 1920 the Soviet authorities had secured the territory of Odessa Oblast, which became part of the Ukrainian SSR; the oblast was established on 27 February 1932 from five districts: Odessa Okruha, Pervomaisk Okruha, Kirovohrad Okruha, Mykolaiv Okruha, Kherson Okruha.
In 1937 eastern portions of the Odessa Oblast were split to create the Mykolaiv Oblast. During World War II Romania occupied the oblast and administered it as part of the Transnistria Governorate. After the war the Soviet administration reestablished the oblast with its pre-war borders. Odessa Oblast expanded in 1954 to absorb Izmail Oblast, formed in 1940 as a result of the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, when Northern and Southern parts of Bessarabia were given to the Ukrainian SSR. During the 1991 referendum, 85.38% of votes in Odessa Oblast were in favor of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. A survey conducted in December 2014 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found 2.3% of the oblast's population supported their region joining Russia, 91.5% did not support the idea, the rest were undecided or did not respond. A poll by Alexei Navalny found similar results; the country's largest oblast by area, it occupies an area of around 33,300 square kilometres.
It is characterised by flat steppes divided by the estuary of the Dniester river. Its Black Sea coast comprises numerous sandy beaches and lagoons; the region's soils are renowned for their fertility, intensive agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The southwest has many vineyards, while arable crops are grown throughout the region. Odessa Opera Akkerman fortress Potemkin Stairs Significant branches of the oblast's economy are: oil refining and chemicals processing transportation; the region's industrial capability is principally concentrated around Odessa. The oblast's population is nearly 40 % of whom live in the city of Odessa. Significant Bulgarian and Romanian minorities reside in the province, it has the highest proportion of Jews of any oblast in Ukraine and there is a small Greek community in