"Kerch Ukraine" Kerch by philsta

Kerch Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 33 photos

Kerch is one of the most ancient cities of Ukraine, archeological digs at Mayak village near the city ascertained that the area had already been inhabited in 17th–15th centuries BC.

Kerch as a city starts its history in 7th century BC, when Greek colonists from Miletus founded a city-state named Panticapaeum (which means fish road) on the shore of Kerch Strait. Panticapaeum was a predecessor of present-day Kerch city, it subdued nearby cities and by 480 BC became a capital of the Kingdom of Bosporus.

The city located at the intersection of trade roads between Asia and Europe grew rapidly. The city's main exports were grain and salted fish, wine-making was also common. Panticapaeum minted its own coins. A large portion of the population was ethnically Scythian, later Sarmatian, as the large royal barrow at Kul-Oba testifies.

In 1st century AD Panticapaeum and the Kingdom of Bosporus suffered from Ostrogoth raids, then the city was devastated by the Huns in AD 375.

In response to strengthening of Russian military forces in Azov area, Turks built a fortress of Yenikale in 1706 near the city on the shore of Kerch Strait. In 1771 Russian Army invaded Crimea and by the Peace Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji in 1774, Kerch and Yenikale were ceded to Russia. As a result, the Turkish heritage has been almost completely wiped out. In 1790 Russian naval forces under the command of admiral Fyodor Ushakov defeated the Turkish fleet in warfare on Kerch Strait.

Because of its location, from 1821 Kerch developed into an important trade and fishing port. The state museum of ancient times and a number of educational institutions were opened in the city. The ironwork factory was built in 1846 based on a huge iron ore deposit found on Kerch Peninsula.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941 to 1945, Kerch was the site of heavy fighting between Soviet Army and Nazi forces. After fierce fighting, city was taken by the Germans in November 1941. On 30 December 1941 the Soviets recaptured the city in a naval landing operation. In 1942 the Germans occupied the city again. On 31 October 1943 another Soviet naval landing operation was launched. Kerch was finally liberated on 11 April 1944.

The German occupants killed about 15,000 citizens and deported another 14,000 during their reign. Evidence of German atrocities in Kerch was presented in the Nuremberg trials. After the War the city was awarded the title Hero City.

The Ajimushkay catacombs (mines) in the city's suburbs were the site of guerrilla warfare against the occupation. Thousands of soldiers and refugees found shelter inside, and were involved in counterattacks. Many of them died underground. Later a memorial was established on the site.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great weather in August, people are so friendly
  • Cons:intermittant water supply, mozzies the size of bats :)
  • In a nutshell:Off the beaten track but worth a visit
  • Last visit to Kerch: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 22, 2007
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