Ai-Petri Mountain is truly the best known and one of the most visited mountain peaks of the Crimean Peninsula. Its height is 1234 meters exactly – one-two-three-four – as if someone calculated this figure on purpose!
Officially Ai-Petri belongs to the Yalta region of Crimea, which is on the Southern coast of the peninsula. The silhouette of Ai-Petri proudly stands out in the green forests of Crimea and strikes with majesty any onlooker. The surrounding mountain range area belongs to the Yalta Mountain-Forest Natural Reserve, and the mountain itself rises above the shoreline towns of Alupka and Koreiz.
Ai-Petri consists of four major spikes, which can be easily discerned from a distance and make this mountain pasture (so are called mounts in the Crimea) so unique and recognizable. The height of these bizarre natural objects varies from 12 to 15 meters. There is also a great number of smaller steep rock formations.
Back in Soviet times, a still functioning cableway Mishor – Pine Forest – Ai-Petri was constructed. The cableway is remarkable for the fact that the span from one its support to another is the longest in Europe. The upper cable car station stands on the edge of the cliff around the meadows of the Ai-Petri plateau. By the way, the top of Ai-Petri is considered the windiest place in the Crimea: the wind blows more than 120 days a year reaching a speed of 110 mph. So a warm coat will be very apropos there!
By the time you get to the summit of the mountain by any of 3 ways (on foot, by car or by cable car) you might get pretty hungry, so nothing can stop you from trying Native tartar food offered 1234 meters above the sea level. But there’s quite a high chance that the food will be the last thing that you care for once you step on the Ai-Petri plateau, especially on a clear day. The thing is that Ai-Petri gives a breathtaking panorama of the seashore and nearby woods.
Sweet and juicy flavor of herbs and flowers, mushrooms, dogwood and wild rose, wild pear and apple trees, leaves, beech and hornbeam, pillows of junipers and cypresses… Green World of Ai-Petri comprises over 600 species of trees, bushes and herbs. Flowers of Ai-Petri – snowdrops, lilies of the valley, crocuses, violets, and others – are incredibly delicate and beautiful. Special charm is created by the relict beech wood just below the summit surrounded by Crimean pines, yew, and hornbeam.
If you have such opportunity don’t miss a chance of staying overnight on the peak to see the sunrise. That’s how it happens. You’re standing on top of a mountain. From the blue haze of the night sea rises a purple ball, big and hot, as if the heart of the earth. Great moment – the birth of a new day. It’s time to rag your brains to remember the most beautiful poetic verses, utter them slowly and quietly, so as people around you don’t consider you a weirdo. If you are lucky enough and there’s no one around – sing a song or shout a greeting to the sun and life, or whatever you feel like to say to the world.
If you are there on a cloudy day, don’t be upset. In case the clouds come down a little, you’ll be able to observe a pink heavenly sea of clouds!
Lots of things can be heard and read about the rising sun on Ai-Petri, but it’s certainly better to experience this unique moment by yourself.
In the next post we will go down a little bit – 4 km in the seashore direction – to the famous evergreen Alupka National Park with its magic atmosphere, unique plants, swan lakes and cascade waterfalls.