Protected Atlesh Ravine

Tarkhankut peninsula

The Protected Atlesh Ravine is a fantastically beautiful area, situated on the small Tarkhankut peninsula at the Crimea’s western coast. It is one of the peninsula’s most picturesque corners that charms with its fabulous landscape. Two virtuoso architects, wind and sea, worked on this amazing fairy-tale world for centuries. It features secluded bays with crystal clear water, which once served as a safe haven for pirates and smugglers, miraculous grottos, peculiar coastal niches, stunningly beautiful backwaters, underwater caves and stone arches.

The ravine that consists of spongy rocky scarps, which used to be the bottom of an ancient sea, was named Atlesh by the locals: it means ‘fire’ in Crimean Tatar. The name reminds that in the old days big fires were lit on the steep plateau. They served as a beacon and assisted ships to navigate in the night sea.

The protected area consists of two monuments of nature – two jutting into the sea capes. These are Big and Small Atlesh, which are situated one kilometer apart. The main attraction and the symbol of Big Atlesh is the forty-meter-high stone arch (through grotto), which was formed as a result of weathering and destruction by sea breakers.

Small Atlesh is a long narrow limestone ledge. Waves made a huge, almost 100-meter-long tunnel in its massive body and formed hundreds of stone sheds and niches. The lowest Crimean cave is situated near the tunnel: its entrance is located ten meters beneath the sea level. The cave is 150 meters long. One of the Small Atlesh’s most popular spots is the so called Bowl of Love – the natural water body with azure sea water. It measures about 20 meters in diameter and is linked with the open sea by six-meter-long underground tunnel.

Clean and clear water, along with rich underwater flora and fauna, made Atlesh Ravine a real Mecca for divers, scuba divers and underwater hunters.

Getting there. It is possible to reach the Tarkhankut peninsula by regular bus or by route taxi from Simferopol or Yevpatoria. Get off in the Olenivka village and then go by car (15 minutes) or on foot (one hour) to the Atlesh Ravine.

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