The Uniques of Tsar's Trail

About tour:
During its long history, the trail has changed several names. Nicholas II called it the Horizontal Path. Following the instructions of the emperor, in 1901 the architect made a convenient path for walking or horseback riding, which connected the Tsar’s palace in Livadia and the Grand Ducal estate of Ai-Todor.

The main decoration of the Tsar's Trail is an elegant pavilion resembling a crown. The semi-rotunda was erected in 1842 at the same time when the palace for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Oreanda estate was founded. White columns in a wreath of the South Coast greenery, inscribed as a semicircle in the rock, give the impression of antiquity.

Ai-Nikola Mountain
The path leading to the top of the mountain is named after Igor Kurchatov, an outstanding Soviet scientist, nuclear physicist. While resting in the Nizhnyaya Oreanda Sanatorium (“Lower Oreanda”), Kurchatov discovered an easily accessible and picturesque rise to the top of the Ai-Nikola Mountain and he led a group of tourists along the new route by himself.

Ai-Nikola faces the sea with the steep rock wall. The opposite slope, wooded and almost flat, is richly decorated with greenery. Almost the entire mountain is Red Book listed and evergreen. In the crevice of the rock, the patriarch of the Crimean forest, the 1300-year-old arbutus (strawberry-tree), takes its shelter: ten powerful trunks grow from thick seven-meter in girth trunk.

The viewing points offers a view of the South Coast. On the horizon, the Ayu-Dag Mountain turns blue, right in front of us the sights of Lower Oreanda are clearly visible: the Intercession Church, the old alcove pavilion, the buildings of the famous sanatorium.

Oreanda-Isar Mountain
The word “isar” in translation from the Crimean Tatar means “fortification”. The toponym “Oreanda” is derived from the word “oreada”. This is how mountain nymphs were called in ancient Greek mythology. The local formidable cliffs, immersed in greenery, could probably have been the habitat of these deities of nature.

Dryads — the nymphs of the forest, the patronesses of trees — also felt free here. Probably, only thanks to the dryads, several very old specimens of wild pistachio and treelike juniper survived on the Oreanda-Isar Mountain. The average age of trees is 500—700 years, and some junipers reach the age of 900 years.

It is known that in antiquity people animated nature and equipped sanctuaries for nymphs, erected altars there. At the top of the mountain, in the midst of age-old trees, a strange stone structure reminding a pagan altar attracts attention. It seems that these massive stones are deliberately stacked on top of each other. But when, by whom, for what purposes? Is it a play of nature, a whim of nymphs or not?

Intercession Church
The temple was built in the Oreanda estate in 1885 at the expense of the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich in memory of his mother, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. The Caucasian-Byzantine architectural style quite matches the surrounding mountainous area.

The temple was richly decorated with mosaic panels made in the workshop of the famous Antonio Salviati. The years of atheism did not spare these beautiful works, however, a very rare image of Christ has been miraculously preserved in the dome: he is shown by a youth, in the spirit of the early Christian images of the Savior.

In an effort to support dying Alexander III, priest John Sergiev from the Kronstadt St. Andrew's Cathedral, later — Saint Righteous John of Kronstadt, used to pray in this church. During the autumn holidays, the whole family of Nicholas II often came to the Intercession Church.

Price includes:
Guide service (6—8 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.
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