Walking the Invisible Road

About tour:
The walking tour route passes along the preserved sections of the ancient road that connected the foothill areas with the Southern Coast of Crimea in ancient times. The modern road from Simferopol to Alushta traces its history back to 1826. At first it was a winding mountain road along which horse-drawn carriages could move. In 1958, the road was completely reconstructed: an intercity mountain trolleybus route Simferopol — Alushta — Yalta was built.

For almost two centuries of its existence, the road has always passed through the Angara Pass. Herewith, the mountain passing points of the old road and of the one reconstructed in the middle of the 20th century were located in different places. The Angara Pass, through which the modern highway passes, is human-made: powerful earth-moving equipment simply cut off a part of the mountain and substantially straightened the road.

Not far from the modern Angara Pass in the forest there is a high stone obelisk, which was erected on the mountain pass of the former road in 1826. The inscription on the plaque reads: “The obelisk was erected in honor of the builders of the first road from Simferopol through the Angara Pass to Alushta, built in 1824—1826 by soldiers of the second battalions of the Kozlov and Nashemburg infantry regiments under the leadership of military engineer Lieutenant Colonel Shipilov.”

In the 19th century, when the obelisk was erected in honor of the completion of the road construction, the inscription said something else: “By order of Emperor Alexander I, this road, from Simferopol to Alushta through the Eila Ridge, started since 1824, was arranged during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I, 1826, under the Governor-General of Novorossiysk and Bessarabia Naryshkin, by Lieutenant Colonel Shipilov.”

The old forest road is visible a few meters from the monument. Actually, the first road to the South Coast passed here. In all eras, it was of strategic importance, therefore it was carefully guarded. In particular, in the 10th—13th centuries, there was a small fortification on the top of Pakhkal-Kaya. It served as an observation post on the most important road of Medieval Taurica.

The trail from the Angara Pass goes through a picturesque beech forest and leads to a small pond — Kutuzov Lake. In summer, the pond usually dries up, but in spring Kutuzov Lake is very beautiful. Around it there are magnificent forest glades with dense grass. Mighty evergreen slender sequoias are pleasing the eye.

If you go higher up the slope, you will see a beautiful view of the Alushta amphitheater: on the left — the Demerdzhi Mount, in the center — the endless sea and tiny Alushta on its shore, on the right — the Babugan mountain range.

On the way from the Angarsk pass to the settlement of Nizhnyaya Kutuzovka in the forest you can see sections of the road built in 1824—1826. Here you can find two arched bridges thrown over the beams, built of hewn limestone, properly functioning to nowadays.

On the side of one of the sections of the old Simferopol—Alushta road, not far from the modern road, a mighty forest pear tree grows. A little higher than the tree, a spring flows out of the ground. Unknown craftsmen specifically arranged the source: through a special pipe, water rises along an empty tree trunk inside and flows directly from the trunk of a pear into the stone container. Pear is well positioned at the road bend, where you can sit down and take a break from the dizzying serpentines of the old way. Legend says that Joseph Stalin liked to stop near this spring tree during his trips to Crimea.

In 1774, near the small village of Shumy near Alushta, during the regular Russian-Turkish war, a detachment of grenadiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Kutuzov defeated the Turkish landing. In that battle, Mikhail Kutuzov was wounded: a bullet, hitting the left temple, came out at the right eye. The wound was serious, but Kutuzov survived. And, contrary to popular belief, he did not lose his eyes. A legend says that the soldiers took the commander to the nearest source and washed the wound. Either the water really was healing, or fate kept Kutuzov for great victories, but after several months of treatment in hospitals, Kutuzov returned to his duty again.

The first fountain near the road appeared in 1804. It was arranged by the son of the Turkish officer who had died in that battle. In 1829, the fountain was reconstructed being this time dedicated to the victory of the Russian troops, and a plaque in memory of the wound of Kutuzov appeared on it in 1835. In 1957, during the new highway construction, a new memorial with a bas-relief of Kutuzov was built. By tradition, it was called the Kutuzov Fountain, although there was no more water here. Recently, within the Walk of Russian Glory project, the bust of Kutuzov was erected additionally right in the center of the memorial.

The natural monument South Demerdzhi Mountain is composed of a conglomerate — a rock consisting of pebbles and boulders, connected by a sandy-clay mass. They were formed on the coast of the sea in an elder geological era. Demerdzhi is rightfully called a fairy-tale mountain. In the process of weathering of fragile rock, numerous statues of the most bizarre forms are formed on the mountain slopes.

There are especially many of them in the gorge, precisely named “Valley of Ghosts”. The role of the chief guard here is played by the “Giant” pillar: it reaches 25 meters in height and 5 meters in diameter. Fabulous mythical “kikimoras”, charming characters of children's fairy tales and primitive Madonnas just look like dancing around it.

The Demerdzhi Mountain has gone down in the history of cinema. The famous Soviet comedy movie “Caucasus Prisoner Girl” was filmed here. In the shots, a 600-year-old walnut tree, in the branches of which Balbes (“Goony”) character, performed by Yuri Nikulin, was hiding, is well recognizable. Near the same tree an episode with Nina and Shurik changing their clothes after swimming in a mountain river was filmed. Nearby there is the famous stone on which Nina was dancing twist and singing song about bears.

At the foot of the South Demerdzhi Mountain there is an open-air museum — the ruins of the medieval Funa fortress. The one controlled an important trade route that connected the steppe Crimea with the sea coast. But the fortress also fulfilled the very important spiritual function: in the 13th—14th centuries, there was a border outpost of the Orthodox principality of Theodoro. Therefore, Funa was defended not only by steep cliffs and powerful defensive walls, but also by the temple in the name of the holy warrior Theodore Stratilates, which, in case of a military attack, became a bastion.

Price includes:
Guide service (8—10 hours) for the whole group.

Additional expenses (optional):
Transportation service: transfer to the starting point of the excursion and / or from the final destination of the route — the cost depends on the transfer route.
Made on