Image - A View of Yevpatoriia (by Carlo Bossoli, 1856). Image - A view of Yevpatoriia. Image - The Yevpatoriia mosque. Image - The Yevpatoriia mosque (interior). Image - Yevpatoriia: Greek Saint Elias Church. Image - Yevpatoriia: Karaite Grand Kenesa. Image - Yevpatoriia: Karaite Grand Kenesa (interior). Image - Yevpatoriia: Yehiia Kapai (Artisan) Synagogue. Image - Yevpatoriia: sea front.

Yevpatoriia [Євпаторія; Jevpatorija]. See Google Map; see EU map: VIII-14. A city (2014 pop 107,040, 2021 pop 108,000), resort and Black Sea port on the west coast of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Yevpatoriia city council also includes the towns of Myrnyi (28 km WNW of the city, 2014 pop 4,210), Novoozerne (27 km NW of the city, 2014 pop 7,393) and Zaozerne (9 km W of the city, 2014 pop 5,023, now within the city limits). The city is the western terminus of a branch railway line (single track, electrified) and the Yevpatoriia Highway (P-25) and a focal point of four minor highways to the north.

History. In the third quarter of the 6th century BC the Greek colony of Kerkinitis (Greek, Κερκινίτις, named either after its founder or the bountiful crabs of its eponymous bay) was established at the site (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast). A significant colony (end of 6th–beginning of 5th century BC), it minted its own coins, prospered from its agricultural resource base and grew from 170 to 290 houses (a resident population of about 1,200 to 2,200). From the 330s BC it became part of the Chersonese Taurica state. In the mid-2nd century BC, in a war with Chersonese Taurica, it was captured and settled by the Scythians. The Pontic Greeks turned to Mithridates VI Eupator (120–63 BC) of the Bosporan Kingdom, whose military (commanded by Diophantus) drove out the Scythians from Kerkinitis (111 BC) and re-fortified it. Despite its existence as a Bosporan protectorate (the latter becoming vassal of Rome in 66 BC), the city’s economy did not recover; the last written reference to Kerkinitis was in 134 AD. While in the border regions of the Roman and Byzantine empires, the area was invaded by the Goths (3rd century), the Huns (4th century), who destroyed the city, and the Khazars (8th century).

The Khazars re-settled it and re-named it Güzliev (literally ‘beautiful house’), but then it came under control of the Pechenegs (10th century), the Kyivan Rus’ merchants (10th–11th centuries), the Cumans (11th century), and the Tatars (led by Mongols, 13th century), who called it Kezlev. It then became part of the district of Crimea (Ulus Krym) of the Golden Horde (1299) and then of the Crimean Khanate (1440s), which became dependent (1475) on the Ottoman Empire’s market for slaves and military support.

In 1478 the Ottomans built a fortified town there and called it Gözleve (meaning ‘a look-out’ or ‘thousand eyes’). The wall, forming a 3 km perimeter in the form of a kidney with six sides and gates, was 6 to 8 meters high and 3 to 5 meters thick. Known as Kezlev in Crimean Tatar (Kezlev in Ukrainian, Kozlov in Muscovite documents), it was first administered (until 1485) directly by the Ottoman Empire and then by the Crimean Khanate. Being the Khanate’s only city on the coast, it outgrew the capital, Bakhchysarai. Kezlev acquired the Khan’s Grand Mosque (The Juma-Jami, built in 1552–64), used for enthronement of the Crimean Khans after they first swore allegiance to the Sultan in Istanbul, minted coins (1588 to 1644), and had about 8,000 houses with an estimated population of 64,000 (second in size, at the time, after the main Ottoman-held city in the Crimea, Kefe, and four times the size of Bakhchysarai). Its port could accommodate 176 ships for exporting grain, salt and hides. The Karaites, who were trusted managers of the Khan’s treasury, sought economic opportunity and moved there from the forlorn Chufut-Kaleh and Bakhchysarai.

As Kezlev developed into a slave trading center, it became the target of raids by the Zaporozhian Cossacks: in1589 (led by Hetman Zakhar Kulaha), and taken in 1675 (led by Hetman Ivan Sirko). During the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–39 the city was taken by the Russian forces in 1736 (led by Field Marshal Burkhard Christoph von Münnich), and later in 1771 it was captured by the Russian army led by Prince Vasilii Dolgorukov. In the mid-17th century Kezlev had 24 mosques, 5 public baths, 11 inns, 2 madrasas, 3 Dervish monasteries, 7 drinking water sources and 670 market stalls. There was a church in the suburbs, and Christian slaves were used to work some fields. But after the Russian attack in 1736, there were 2,500 houses left, and its population was reduced to about 20,000. In the 1770s Kezlev became residency of Hakhan, the spiritual leader of the Karaites, whose community grew on account of the influx from other cities of the Crimea. In October 1778, to expel the remaining Turks, the Russian army entered Kezlev, led by Aleksandr Suvorov, who made it his headquarters for the Crimea and the Kuban until 1779. All Armenians (1,304) and a similar number of Greeks (200 families) were removed for resettlement to the Azov gubernia.

After Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 1783 the town was renamed Yevpatoriia (1784) in honor of Mithridates VI using his nickname Eupator (meaning ‘of a noble father’), although Crimean Tatars continued to call it Kezlev (and still do). The city was made a district center of the Tavriia district; in 1796 as a district center it became part of New Russia gubernia and after 1802 of Tavriia gubernia. Population declined significantly. In the 1780s–1790s many Crimean Tatars left for the Ottoman Empire while some Armenians and Greeks returned. The Karaites converged to what became, under Hakhan S. Bobovich (1788–1855), their spiritual center in the Crimea. According to the P. Pallas survey (1793–4), the city still had 13 mosques, 7 madrasas, 1 Armenian (Saint Nicholas) church, 1 Greek chapel (Protection of the Holy Mother of God), 1 Karaite kenesa and 2 Karaite schools, 2 baths, 11 trading houses, 323 market stalls, and 24 cafes. There were, however, only 928 houses left, of which 650 belonged to the Tatars, 240 to the Karaites and several to the Krymchaks, and 38 to Armenians and Greeks. The population was down to 4,410. In order to rejuvenate the city’s economy, imports and exports were exempted from taxes in 1798. Even so, the city’s population diminished to 1,912 by 1802. The construction of new docks in 1829, the recognition of authority of Hakhan as the Karaite spiritual leader by the Russian government in 1837; a Hebrew Karaite press was established there in the 1830s and functioned until the 1860s. The return of more Armenian and Greek merchants helped recover the trade. Population grew to 10,600 by 1845. The main exports were grain, wool and leather, felt products, fat and manufactured salt.

During the Crimean War the city was occupied (September 1854 to October 1855) by allied (British, French and Ottoman) forces, garrisoned French and Ottoman troops, and withstood a failed effort by the Russian forces to take it with a major battle in February 1855. The city’s population declined to 5,000 residents, remained at 6,813 in 1864 and recovered slowly to about 8,000 by the mid-1870s.

When Yevpatoriia gained self-administration (1873), its mayor (1864–81 and Hakhan 1879–1911) Samuil M. Pampulov, promoted the city for its improvement and well-being. In 1865 a school for Karaite women was established. The S. I. Shakai orchard (established in the early 1870s) was bequeathed (1895) to the city as a park. By the 1880s the city began its transformation into a Russian imperial resort. Already in 1883, Countess E. Gorchakova promoted the coast of Yevpatoriia as equal to that of Cannes in the south of France. Then two local physicians (S. Khodzhash and S. Tsetsenevsky) rented (1884) the nearby Moinak Lake where they established a mud bath clinic (operational since 1887), devised and popularized therapies that were later adopted throughout the Russian Empire. In 1893 the city council established the post of city architect, with Adam Henrych serving in this capacity until 1912, providing strict guidelines for urban growth. The military topographer Lt. Col. F. Chepliansky was contracted (1895) to devise a twenty year plan. The city council, with Count N. Mamuna as mayor (1886–1906), guided the development of the city on the basis of its fine attributes of warm, sunny climate, sandy beaches and therapeutic mud. Meanwhile, its port was revitalized (1891–5) and institutional buildings were erected (Saint Nicholas Cathedral [1893–9], men’s gymnasium [1893–6], women’s gymnasium [1902]) or restored (the Khan’s Mosque [1896]). Under the leadership of S. Duvan (1906–10, 1915–17), a prominent Karaite, the city began to grow as a balneological resort center. The city’s center was graced with a theater (built 1908–10) and a library (1911–13). The city improved its infrastructure (water supply, drainage) paved roads and added streetcars (which began service in May 1914, several months before Simferopol), amenities (covered markets, amusement parks, and clubs), and replaced unsanitary Tatar and Gypsy shanties with improved structures. New sanatoria were built: ‘Primorskaia sanatoria’ (1905), ‘Sanitas’ and ‘Solarium’ (both in 1910), ‘Thallassa’ (1912) and others expanded that year; new hotels included ‘Modern’ (1908), ‘Moskovskaia’ (1909), ‘Lulber’ and ‘Beiler’ (both in 1911).

Self-governance and economic well-being resulted in population growth. In 1883, according to a survey by V. Piankov, the city had grown to 15,815 residents. Comprising (in percent) Tatars (31.6), Greeks (30.0), Karaites (12.5), Russians (meaning East Slavs, 12.0), Gypsies (5.9), Jews (4.0) and others (4.0), it remained predominantly Tatar-speaking. The 1897 population census identified 17,913 residents. Its composition (in percent) by language spoken reflected in migration from the mainland: the Crimean Tatars (41.7), the Tatar-speaking Karaites (8.5) and Krymchaks (0.4) still formed a majority (50.6); the Slavs (33.4) who spoke Russian (26.3), Ukrainian (6.4), Polish (0.4), Belarusian (0.2) or another Slavic language now formed a large minority, while Ashkenazi Jews (who spoke Yiddish, 8.4), Armenians (1.9), and Germans (1.2) formed significant minorities. Only 2 Gypsies were recorded; perhaps they evaded census-takers or left after their shanties were destroyed. In 1905 there was a pogrom in Yevpatoriia. As in-migration continued, by 1910, according to the Central Statistical Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yevpatoriia reached 30,249 residents, with the plurality (in percent) now held by the Slavic-speaking Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, and Belarusians (48.8); the Crimean Tatars became a minority (24.2).

The First World War impacted Yevpatoriia in several ways. The commercial activity of the port was disrupted, idling 400 dockside workers. But the imperatives of war in 1915 expedited the construction of the railway linking Yevpatoriia with the Moscow-Simferopol mainline in record 4 months. A major treatment center for up to 45,000 people was organized for war casualties. Moreover, as resorts of Central Europe were no longer available to the Russian wealthy, the summer influx of vacationers and seasonal workers increased from the annual average of 15,000 to 40,000 in 1916. That year the city was also visited by Emperor Nicholas II with his family, who among other things officially opened the city’s new library, named after Emperor Alexander II (later re-named by the Soviets after Aleksandr Pushkin).

During the rule of Russia’s Provisional Government in 1917, the residents elected its city government with P. Ivanov as its mayor. But on 14–18 January 1918, the Bolshevik sailors terrorized the city by killing 300 officers, well-to-do citizens, and ‘counter-revolutionaries’ as they established the so-called ‘Yevpatoriia Soviet of Worker, Soldier and Peasant Deputies’ (mayor Ivanov tendered his resignation). By the end of April 1918, the Bolsheviks were driven out by the German forces associated with Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky. The Germany-supported Crimean regional government, headed by Suleiman Sulkevich, sought to re-establish the pre-revolutionary city administrations, but many of the individuals were either dead or emigrated. Among the emigres was the Hakhan (1911–61) Seraya Shapshal (1873–61), who continued his advocacy of the Khazar origin of the Karaites from his office in Istanbul (1920–27), then in Vilnius (1928–39). Meanwhile, allied forces of France, United Kingdom, and USA supported the military administrations of General Anton Denikin (16 November 1918–April 1919) and General Petr Wrangel (April 1920–November 1920), with the 2nd Don Cadet Corps controlling the city, until the Bolsheviks re-gained possession of Yevpatoriia (on 20 November 1920) with another reign of terror. By 1921 the city had 30,172 residents, compared to about 45,000 in 1917. The famine of 1921–3 and emigration resulted in continued loss of population.

Soviet period. In 1922 the city became part of Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. The census of (17 December) 1926 identified only 23,512 residents in Yevpatoriia; by nationality (in percent), Russians became dominant (43.7), followed by Crimean Tatars (20.2), Jews (including Karaites and Krymchaks, 15.5), and Ukrainians (10.0); the Germans (3.3), Greeks (3.0), Armenians (1.3), and Poles (0.8) formed smaller national minorities. In pursuing a policy of militant atheism, the Soviet government closed houses of prayer, mosques, and churches and converted them to other uses.

The development of the city as a balneological resort resumed after all its sanatoria were nationalized. It hosted a physicians’ conference on resort science (1924), obtained the first bio-climatological station (at the ‘Talasa’ sanatorium, 1926), was designated an exemplary all-Union children’s resort (1936), and adopted a general plan for the reconstruction of the city (1938). By 1940 the city had 36 sanatoria and rest homes, 17 sanatoria for children, and the new ‘Moinaki’ mud bath. The city also gained some industries and an airfield. In 1935, its role as an administrative center of its surrounding rural district (raion) was passed on to the neighboring city of Saky, and the district re-named Saky raion. The population of Yevpatoriia doubled after 1926, mainly through in-migration, with the 17 January 1939 census recording 47,000 residents.

At the outset of German invasion (1941), 5,000 soldiers or partisans from Yevpatoriia went to fight the invaders; its sanatoria served as military hospitals. Although the majority of the Jews departed before the arrival of the Nazi German forces (31 October 1941), those who stayed were registered, deprived of their possessions, and shot on 23 November 1941 (see Holocaust). Although Yevpatoriia was declared ‘free of Jews’ on 15 December, by the end of December 150 Krymchaks were discovered and shot by Sonderkommando 11b. The killing of Jews who had gone into hiding but were discovered by Germans and their collaborators, as well as of Jews brought to the city from nearby collective farms, continued into 1942. Meanwhile, the Romanian military (who quartered in the city) with German support fought off two raids by Soviet marines (on December 1941, which managed to free political prisoners, and the less successful one on 5 January 1942, after which the Germans arrested and executed 3,000 captured wounded raiders and locals suspected of sabotage). Altogether, during their occupation (31 October 1941 to 13 April 1944), the Nazi Germans killed 12,500 people, almost one-third of the city’s population, and took 400 residents as Ostarbeiter to slave labor in Germany.

After the return of the Soviet Army, on 11 May 1944, Joseph Stalin signed a decree designating Crimean Tatars to have been Nazi collaborators. Mass deportation of Crimean Tatars began on 18 May. Other ethnic groups in the Crimea were also removed: Armenians, Bulgarians, Germans, and Greeks. Altogether some 8,000 to 9,000 citizens were deported from Yevpatoriia. Altogether, the city’s wartime and post-war losses amounted to about one-half of its pre-war population. Following these deportations, the Crimea was deprived of its status as an autonomous soviet socialist republic and became an oblast within the RSFSR.

In 1954, to expedite its development, the Crimea was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. The killed and deported population of the city was more than replaced by others (55,000 in 1956). The 1959 ethnic makeup of the city became (in percent) predominantly Russian (72), with Ukrainians (18) a significant minority; Belarusians (2), Jews (1), and others (7) were also present, but the removed peoples of Crimea—the Crimean Tatars, Germans, Greeks, Karaites and Krymchaks—were gone. The city’s population grew rapidly: from 57,000 (1959), to 79,000 (1970), 93,000 (1979), 108,000 (1989) and 111,000 (1991). Its economy expanded. The number of sanatoriums increased from 14, accommodating 2,885 people in 1945, to 78 sanatoriums for 33,000 people in the 1980s, when their guests numbered 300,000 per year; other visitors for recreation reached 800,000 per year. New structures included the railway station (1953), the marine terminal (1965), the ‘Moinaky’ thermal mineral water (1966), and the water therapy center acquired a branch of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Resort Science and Physiotherapy (1978). New multi-story apartment neighborhoods were built. Cultural venues for children were enhanced, such as the children’s music festival (1985). Food-processing and other consumer goods industries were expanded. The city’s water supply, dependent on artesian wells, was supplemented with the Mizhhirske water reservoir (built in 1970, 34 km ESE of the city) providing water from the Dnipro River by way of the North Crimean Canal and its southern branch, the Saky Canal.

During the superpower space and military competition, three developments occurred here: 1) the Center for Distant Cosmic Communications (designed by the academicians Serhii Korolov and M. Keldysh, est. 1960, used for guiding space probes and satellites, with a transmission antenna [P 2500, with a 70 m dish] on the coast near Molochne [14 km W of the city center], and two sets of receiver antennas [ADU 1000, comprising 8 dishes 16m diameter each] and two radio telescopes [KTNA - 200] at Vityne [16 km WNW of the city center], all managed by the military); a radio telescope for tracking satellites and an experimental center for pilots and cosmonauts just north of Zaozerne [9 km WSW of the city center, now part of the city], 2) the Donuzlav Naval Base (at Myrnyi, 29 km NW of the city, est 1960s, housing air-cushioned landing craft [Zubr class], an air station, and a submarine base), and 3) the Saky Air Base (at Saky, 20 km SE of the city, est 1930s, expanded in 1982 to provide training for take-off and landing on the Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier (built in Mykolaiv, 1985). In Yevpatoriia, its airport (est 1926, used by fighter planes, 1952–60, housed the Yevpatoriia Aircraft Repair Plant, est 1939, which serviced exclusively military aircraft until 1991).

Independent Ukraine. Already during Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, the Russian Orthodox church began to open its churches in Yevpatoriia. Other organized religions also became active, notably following the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence and referendum of 1 December 1991. Wary of the Declaration on the State Sovereignty of Ukraine (16 July 1990), the Russians in the Crimea pressed for and in a referendum (20 January 1991) gained for the Crimea the autonomous republic status. The Crimean Tatars started returning to their homeland, but encountering local resistance and unable to regain their old homes, built shanties on the outskirts of Yevpatoriia (the Ismail-Bei neighborhood, housing about 7,000).

Initially, runaway inflation reduced tourism. The number of visitors to Yevpatoriia began to recover to exceed 190,000 by 2000. Private enterprise began to develop services (food catering, retail, banking, transport) in support of international tourism. A. Danylenko (mayor, 1991–2014, initially member of the Communist Party of Ukraine, then of the Party of Regions) guided the readjustment and development of the city. Of particular importance was the redevelopment of the old part of Yevpatoria, dubbed ‘Little Jerusalem’ by the Karaites, with the restoration of historic buildings of Yevpatoriia, its Crimean Tatar predecessor Kezlev, and the ruins of Kerkinitis.

Following the collapse of Soviet central planning, the military-industrial complex waned. The Yevpatoriia airport and repair facilities were opened up to civilian aircraft. The Center for Distant Cosmic Communications became (1993) part of the National Cosmic Agency of Ukraine, de-militarized and subordinated (1996) to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The neglected Donuzlav base was acquired by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (1996), re-named the Southern Naval Base, and used to dock some ships of Ukraine’s Black Sea Fleet. The Saky Air Base, however, continued to be used by the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The population growth of the city slowed down, peaked in 1993 and then, with aging population and some emigration, declined and then stabilized: 111,000 (1991), 113,300 (1992), 115,000 (1993), 105,900 (2001), 106,500 (2006), 107,200 (2009), 106,900 (1 January 2014). The 2001 population census (in the Yevpatoriia city council, population 117,565) revealed some shifts (in percent of the total population): a decline in Russians (64.9), an increase of Ukrainians (23.3), the return of the Crimean Tatars (6.9); also present were Belarusians (1.5), Armenians (0.5), Jews (0.4), Tatars (0.2), Poles (0.2), Moldavians (0.2), Azeris (0.2), Koreans (0.1), Gypsies (0.1), Karaites (0.1), Germans (0.1), Uzbeks (0.1) and others (1.2). Russian was retained as the language of instruction: of the 17 schools in the city only one was allowed for Ukrainian (School No. 13), one (School No. 18) for Crimean Tatar, and one (School No. 8) for mastering English.

With the Russian occupation in 2014, Ukrainian institutions and enterprises were seized and pro-Ukraine citizens (mainly Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians) threatened with persecution. The population of the city declined from 106,900 (1 January 2014) to 105,719 (census of 14 October 2014). The ethnic make-up of the city’s population (based on 96.2 percent of the respondents who declared their ethnicity) shifted (in percent) to an increase of Russians (73.9), a decline in Ukrainians (13.9), a smaller number of Crimean Tatars (6.6) but more of the politically less problematic Tatars (1.6). The remaining small minorities included Belarusians (1.0), Armenians (0.7), Jews (0.3), Azeris (0.2), Poles (0.14), Koreans (0.14), Karaites (0.13), Gypsies (0.12), Uzbeks (0.12), Moldavians (0.10), Germans (0.10), Greeks (0.09), and others (0.98). All schools reverted to teaching in Russian.

Military bases were reactivated for the Russo-Ukrainian war and industries for military needs were revitalized. For example, a branch of the Moscow-based AO Vympel, makers of microchips and electronics for tactical missiles since 2004, was set up in the city.

Economy. Yevpatoriia is an important resort center, with supporting services, transportation, and manufacturing. Its mild, sunny climate (more sunny days [2,450 hours per year] than in any other city in the Crimea), fresh air (from the sea or the steppes) and sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing (early May to end of September). Mud baths (Mainak Lake), and hot saltwater baths are used to treat bone tuberculosis, rheumatism, respiratory ailments, and skin diseases. Local mineral water (21 sources) is an asset.

In the late 1980s almost 60 percent of its residents were employed in over 100 sanatoriums, rest homes, and resorts in the vicinity. As state sponsorship of rest homes stopped, by 2007 the facilities declined to 67, including 27 sanatoriums (of which 20 were for children), 10 rest homes, a water therapy clinic, two resort clinics, and the ‘Moinaky’ thermal mineral water clinic.

The warm, sunny climate also attracted film-making; 29 films were made here in the period from 1916 (‘The Crimean Flirt’) to 2016 (‘My Dear Mother-in-Law’), all in Russian.

The resort economy is supported by medical services (in 2007 there were 14 medical establishments with 860 beds, employing 419 physicians and 935 medical support staff) and other therapies (dental, diet and beauty treatments, use of dolphins at the Yevpatoriia Dolphinarium), hotels (10 for visitors), food (restaurants, street vendors), financial (9 banks) and transport services, higher education and research support and recreational and cultural amenities.

Transportation includes urban, inter-urban and port shipping. The city has 20 regular bus routes, 4 street car routes, as well as mini-bus and taxi service; goods are delivered by trucks. Main access beyond the city for passengers is by train (the station, Yevpatoriia-Kurort) or bus (adjacent terminal), and for goods by rail (the Yevpatoriia-Tovarna freight yard) or road (Highway P 25, through Saki; the city’s main trucking firm, Khimtrans-Servis). The nearest airport for travelers is near Simferopol. The Yevpatoriia port has facilities for both passenger ferries (in the 1980s the volume reached 2.8 million passengers per year) and bulky goods (loading grain onto ships, unloading sand dredged from Donuzlav) and servicing of ships. Since 1960, the Yevpatoriia airport was used only to repair airplanes (since 1991, civilian airplanes, and since 1995 certified for Antonov aircraft).

Industries in 2005, grouped by sector in order of importance (as percent of value of production in the city) were mainly 1) food-processing (70), including meat and milk products, grain-milling products, fish-processing and canning, and 2) beverages (15), notably wine, spirits and mineral water; of lesser importance were 3) manufacturing (5), including metalworking, machine-building and repair; 4) building materials (4), including cement and stone-working, woodworking and furniture; 5) energy production (3); 6) clothing and footwear (2); and 7) other (1), such as printing.

Higher educational institutions from the Soviet period (the medical schools, teachers' institutes, and vocational-technical schools) were augmented since 1991 with several university faculties: 1) the Yevpatoriia Institute of Social Sciences, a branch of the Crimean Humanities University (based in Yalta), 2) the post-diploma branch of the Eastern Ukrainian National University (based in Luhansk), 3) the correspondence branch of the University of Internal Affairs, and 4) the correspondence branch of Kyiv National Pedagogical University. After 2014 most were replaced by other institutions from the Crimea and the Russian Federation: 1) the Institute of Social Sciences, branch of the Crimean Federal University (Simferopol; formerly Tavriia National University), 2) a branch of the Dal Center for Post-diploma Education (based in Russia-controlled Luhansk), 3) Crimean Branch of the Krasnodar University of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and 4) a branch of the Synergy University (Moscow University for Industry and Finance). A branch of the Georgievsky Medical Academy (now part of the Crimean Federal University) was also added.

Scientific research institutes support the city’s or nearby economic activities. They focus on: 1) resort science and physiotherapy, 2) child resort science, physiotherapy and medical rehabilitation, 3) architecture and urban planning, 4) measurement instrument-making, 5) deep drilling (for onshore and offshore gas N and NW of Yevpatoriia), and 6) space research, management, and use of space.

Culture. Although the city was, until the end of the 19th century, mainly Crimean Tatar and Karaite in culture, by the turn of the century it became predominantly imperial Russian, and then Sovietized and Russified; with Ukraine’s independence and the return of the Crimean Tatars, it regained some historic diversity. Only the old part of the city has significant heritage buildings of the former Kezlev or ‘Little Jerusalem’ that remind both residents and visitors of the past. Southwest of old Kezlev are the buried foundations of walls and houses of the ancient Greek Kerkinitis (about 7 hectares), a sample made accessible for public viewing in 2000 with a glass pyramid on the city’s main pedestrian Duvan Street. The artefacts found there as well as other ethnographic items of more recent periods (some 75,000 items) are displayed in the nearby Yevpatoriia Regional Studies Museum (work to establish it began in 1916, opened in 1921).

Two outstanding structures of the Crimean Tatar heritage have been revived as living museums. 1) The Khan’s Grand Mosque (Juma-Jami, built 1552–64, the northernmost example of Turkish renaissance architecture, designed by Mimar Sinan [chief Ottoman architect]). With Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Khanate and departure of the last Khan in 1783, its regal function was lost, but it continued as the city’s Grand Mosque, with restoration (on what also became a tourist attraction) in 1894–6 and 1914–16. It was closed by the Bolsheviks in 1920. After its ancient manuscript Koran was transferred to Khan Jami in Bakhchysarai in 1925 (and then lost), it was used as a warehouse, then restored (1969–85) as a museum of history of religion and atheism. After the Crimean Tatars came back, it was returned to the Moslem community in the 1990s, refurbished and opened for religious service in 2000.

2) The Tekie (Crimean Tatar: tekiye, a dervish monastery with 19 cells), the only one remaining in Europe, originally built in the early 15th century, with modifications until 18th century. The complex includes the 17th century Shukurla-Efendi Mosque (Crimean Tatar: Şükürla Efendi) with a minaret (in ruined state) and a madrasa. After 1783, the dervishes (itinerant Moslem monks known for their whirling dances) were banned by Russian authorities. Only its mosque continued to function. In 1918 the Bolshevik sailors killed its imam and in 1924 the Soviet regime closed the mosque and the complex became a warehouse for the Black Sea Fleet; its graveyard, where sheiks and dervishes were buried, was destroyed in 1933. Following the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence, thanks to the efforts of the Crimean Tatar historian Alife-Khanum Yashlavska (herself of noble Crimean Tatar family and a 4-year old child-deportee in 1944), the complex was granted the status of a ‘national historical-architectural monument of the 15th–17th centuries’; the grave of the revered Otesh-Dede was identified, the madrasa restored (2006) and made into a museum of Crimean Tatar 19th century culture, where dervish actors re-created their presence and dancing.

Other Crimean Tatar heritage buildings include: 3) two Turkish baths (16th centuries, then also used for cleaning up captives after their arduous journey before their sale at the slave market); and 4) the Eastern gates (16th century, revealing a segment of the 8 meter high fortress wall, and curved narrow streets with old houses, as seen by Adam Mickiewicz in 1825).

The Karaite temple complex is unique in Eastern Europe, exceeded only by those in Jerusalem. It includes the Grand Kenesa (built 1805–7) and Small Kenesa (1815). This complex, visited by Emperor Alexander I (1825), was closed by the Bolsheviks (1926) and repurposed (an atheist museum, then in 1928, an ethnographic museum, Karaite branch). In 1936, the Grand Kenesa became an educational institution for nurses and the Small Kenesa a gym; during German occupation (1942), the Small Kenesa was reopened for worship, but in 1959 it housed a kindergarten and since 1967 the archeological branch of the Yevpatoriia Regional Studies Museum; the Grand Kenesa served as repository of the Yevpatoriia Regional Studies Museum. In 1990 the Yevpatoriia city council leased the Small Kenesa rent-free to the Karaite cultural-educational society. Next door, the S. Kushul Museum of History and Ethnography of the Crimean Karaites was opened in 1996. In 1999, the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine began the restoration of the complex. In 2005 the Grand Kenesa was opened for worship and visitors.

Three Christian churches have particular historic significance. 1) The Surb Nikogaios (Saint Nicholas) Armenian-Gregorian Church (built in 1817 [but was preceded in the 17th century by a church at another location, which, in 1736, the Tatars seized and converted it into a mosque in retribution after the Russians invaded and destroyed most of the Tatar mosques; the Armenians then built a wooden church here until the present masonry church replaced it]; its outer walls bear carved names of French soldiers stationed there during the Crimean War; in 1910 an adjacent building housed its school and other community needs; closed by the Bolsheviks, it was returned to the Armenian community in the 1990s). The Armenian-Catholic Church (which broke off from the Gregorian Church in 610 and joined in communion with the Church of Rome since 1742) had its own building in Yevpatoriia with 177 parishioners in 1888, but did not survive the Bolshevik period.

2) The Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral (built in 1893–99 to memorialize the Russian ‘liberation’ of Yevpatoriia from the Anglo-French-Turkish forces in the grand style of Hagia Sophia [architect, Alexander Bernardazzi], rivals the nearby Khan’s Grand Mosque in its style and majesty. (With the intention to serve all Orthodox residents, it was built next to and then replaced the original Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church [built shortly before 1794 and named after the holy protector of sailors and merchants], appropriating its name. The Greeks, however, found the Old Church Slavonic liturgy incomprehensible and built a replacement, the Saint Elijah Church [1907–18]). The Bolsheviks closed the cathedral and used it as a warehouse, then an art workshop; during the Second World War the retreating Red Army was ordered to detonate the cathedral, but failed; during Nazi German occupation, the cathedral was re-opened for service [1942], but with return of the Soviets was again re-purposed; in the 1990s the cathedral was returned to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate and resumed its role as a functioning cathedral.

3) The Saint Elijah Greek Orthodox Church was built (1907–18) using white limestone in a typical Greek cross-like plan (city architect, the Polish-born Adam Heinrich) in a prominent location visible from the sea. Since its parishioners were mostly Greek citizens, this church remained in service until 1936 (the Soviet regime avoiding aggravating its relations with the Greek government). In the 1950s it was converted into a gym, its bell tower partly removed in 1959. Damage was also sustained during the landing of Soviet forces in 1942. In independent Ukraine, the church became property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. In 2003 the bell tower was restored and a replacement bell installed. Since 2014 both the Saint Nicholas Cathedral and Saint Elijah Church became part of the Russian Orthodox church.

There are two synagogues: 1) The Merchant or Main Synagogue (built 1911–12 [architect, Adam Heinrich] was a replacement of its predecessor on the same site since the beginning of the 19th century; the Bolsheviks initially closed it, then in 1922 allowed it under contract to function; two strong earthquakes damaged it in 1927; the synagogue was closed for repairs (1929), altered, and re-purposed as a club for craftsmen and Krymchaks; in the early 1930s transferred to the Yevpatoriia Beer and Non-Alcoholic Factory as a storage facility until early 1990s; following the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence, a project was developed for the restoration of the temple building [2009], the external facades were restored, and in 2013 returned to communal ownership).

2) The Egia-Kapai (also Yegiya Kapay) Synagogue (built in 1912 as the Artisan Synagogue; a grand stone structure featuring a high circular window with the Star of David, it was closed by the Soviets in 1930 to serve as a warehouse; during German occupation, as a barn for horses. After Ukraine’s independence it was returned to the Jewish community, restored, blessed, and opened for service (2003) and as a Jewish cultural and ethnographic center with handicraft production; nearby is the Yoskin Kot cafe-museum.

Museums from the later Soviet era include the Yevpatoriia Marine Museum (featuring recovered artefacts from the sea), the Yevpatoriia Port Museum (est 1987), and the Internationalist Fighters Museum (est 1990). During Ukraine’s independence were added the Pharmacy Museum (est 2004 in what was the first [1823] pharmacy in the Crimea), and next door the Postal Museum (est 2006 in part of an operating post office), both on Karaev Street, the Museum of World Culture and Applied Art (2007), and the Yevpatoriia Museum of History of the Crimean War (2012). After Russian annexation were added a House of Wine (2014) and, for children, a Museum of Space Exploration (2017).

During Ukraine’s independence other religions opened up their houses of worship, for example, such Protestant groups as the Evangelist-Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventists. With Russian occupation, the 2016 anti-evangelism law restricted their activity.

The Roman Catholics have ‘the Arrival of Saint Martin’ Chapel (its congregation began meeting in 1996 in a city library; in 1999 the Missionary Oblates, headed by Rev Jacek Pyl, purchased a building to include this chapel and their living quarters, to accommodate about 100; it is part of the Roman Catholic diocese of Odesa-Simferopol, established in 2002, with Bishop Bronisław Biernacki [cathedral in Odesa] and Auxiliary Bishop Jacek Pyl in office but no co-cathedral in Simferopol).

Initially, some Ukrainians of the Orthodox faith attended the Russian Orthodox church, re-named Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. Then the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate established it’s Crimea eparchy in 1996. In Yevpatoriia and vicinity, Rev Yaroslav Hontar came to serve his parishioners who purchased plots of land and built a) the Church in Honor of the Mother of God ‘Burning Bush’ in the city, b) the Saint Nicholas Church in the city of Saky, and c) the Resurrection of Christ Church in the more distant town of Oktiabrske [62 km E of Yevpatoriia]). After the Russian annexation (2014) they were pressured to close; Rev Hontar now serves the faithful in mostly Ukrainian villages in the Rozdolne raion (NW Crimea).

The Ukrainian Catholic church established its exarchate of Odesa-Crimea in 2003; in Yevpatoriia it established (2005) its Protectress Mother of God parish and had it registered (2006). Its priest, Rev. Bohdan Kostetsky, conducted liturgy for the faithful in a rented Ukrainian library (made into a chapel) of the Central Resort Polyclinic and visited settlements with faithful within 100 km of the city where he celebrated liturgy, started a choir and a Sunday school for catechism. A site was purchased for a church for 100 people, construction began, but the 2014 Russian occupation intervened. He was threatened, departed to relatives in Ternopil oblast, but soon returned to serve his parishioners.

Of the 18 schools in the city, only one (No. 13) taught in Ukrainian and one (No. 18) in Crimean Tatar. Since 2014 Ukrainian is no longer used as a language of instruction. There is also a prestige school where English is mastered.

Public libraries comprise the Aleksandr Pushkin Central City Library and 14 branch libraries; 9 for adults (including branches No. 1 the Ostrovsky Library, No. 2 the Lesia Ukrainka Library, No. 3 the Krupskaia Library, No. 4 the Maiakovsky Library) and 5 for children (including the Anton Makarenko Central Children’s Library, and No. 6 the Yurii Gagarin Library).

Monuments on the streets, squares and parks of the city have been erected mainly to individuals who participated in wars, from the Crimean War to Afghanistan. The most prominent is the ‘Red Mound’ memorial complex (built in 1954, designated historically significant in 1969), which commemorates the mass executions that took place there during the Second World War.

There are 6 major parks in the city: 1) the D. Karaev Park (est in 19th century on 1.5 ha along the gulf shore, with a performance stage [burned down in 1898]; 2) The Frunze Park (est 1920s in the resort center, featuring a large basin with a fountain, a mini-zoo and the Crimea in miniature); 3) the Lenin Park (est 1927, in the city center); 4) another Lenin Park (est 1959 near Moinak Lake, with an astronomy telescope for youth); 5) the Yevpatoriia dendrological park (est 1936 on 3.7 ha); and 6) a botanical garden (est 1937 on 3.5 ha, re-developed into a ‘Tropikpark’ with a hothouse).

For entertainment there were, in 2010, 9 different theaters: the Yevpatoriia City Theater, the children’s ‘Golden Key’ International Child Center-complex, the Puppet Theater ‘Marionettes’, the Choreographed Miniatures Theater, the Gender Interactive Theater, the ‘Wolfram’ Flame Theater, the Theater of Living Sculpture, the Theater on Stilts, and the Dance of the Nations of the World Theater. Before 2014 there were 17 FM radio stations with 4 rebroadcasting productions from Kyiv.

Sport facilities in 2011 included 3 stadiums (the largest, Sports Club ‘Arena – Krym’, est. 2010, has 2 stadiums and 5 football pitches with lighting, hotel and bathing complex, used for hosting premier league training). There are 31 sports fields, including 7 tennis courts, 25 gyms and 32 other sports facilities for physical education. There are two football clubs ‘Yevpatoriia-2500’ (Crimea League) and ‘Invasport’ (lower division), and a women’s volleyball club ‘Kerkinitida’. For the physically disabled, on the basis of a former pioneer camp, the National Center for Paralympic and the Deaflympic Training Center ‘Ukraine’ were established and then used by Paralympic athletes from Ukraine and other countries. For children there is a go-kart track and for adults, a route was developed for the city’s ‘Extreme’ bicycle club.

City Plan. Located at the northern end of the Kalamita Bay, Yevpatoriia occupies an irregular triangular area of about 40 sq km; its base (12 km) in the south spans its concave E-W coastline and its apex 6.5 km north of it reaches the village of Suvorovske. In the east the city abuts Sasyk Lake and extends along a narrow sand bar separating Sasyk Lake from Kalamita Bay 7 km ESE towards Saky; to the west its base follows the coast (about 17 km) to the foreland with the suburb Zaozerne, a total of 24 km. Midway from the east side of Yevpatoriia to Zaozerne is Moinak Lake, which marks the western limit of compactly developed part and former boundary of the city.

The former Kezlev, or ‘Little Jerusalem’ is near the eastern side of the base and forms a kidney-shaped area. Once defined by a wall, then replaced by streets, it extends 1 km along the coast and about 0.6 km inland. Much of it still contains curved, narrow streets and historic 1–2 story houses and historic buildings. The coastal wall was replaced by the broad Lazarev Street, re-named (in the Soviet period) Revolution Street, on the inland side of which are located the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and 120 m west of it, the Khan’s Grand Mosque (Juma Jami). On the seaside of Revolution Street is Karaev Park with its coastal promenade. Inland, near the central part of old Kezlev, on the N side of Karaim Street, is the Karaite Kenesa complex and, 175 m east of it, the Egia-Kapai (Artisan) Synagogue, 85 m SE of it, the Turkish baths, and on the S side of Karaim Street, near its end, the restored Merchant Synagogue. Beyond what was the NE wall, is the Surb Nikogaios (Saint Nicholas) Armenian-Gregorian Church and at the SE end of it, is the Tekie complex and south of it, is the preserved eastern gate tower of old Kezlev.

In 1905 the commercial and administrative heart of Yevpatoriia was along or near the coastal thoroughfare: the city hall, bank, hotels, consulates (British, French, Greek, Italian), trade agency, post office, custom house, treasury. Cultural and educational institutions were near the west end of it: the men’s gymnasium, the women’s gymnasium, the Pushkin Auditorium, and the City Theater. Only the police station and the Turkish Consulate were within old Kezlev and the main hospital north of it. That site now contains the Children’s Hospital campus.

By 1905 Yevpatoriia grew to the east, north and northwest of old Kezlev. Byond the old Kezlev suburb NE of the former wall, a new grid pattern of streets and housing with a large wholesale market square extended E to Sasyk Lake; two suburbs (slobody), the Gypsy to the NE, beyond which were the Moslem, Orthodox and Karaite cemeteries (the latter two still exist), and to the N, the New sloboda; and to the NW, past Alexander Square, more residential quarters and beyond them, Moslem and Orthodox cemeteries (now gone). A grid was laid out to the west, centered on Moinak Avenue (later re-named Lenin Avenue), from the coastal thoroughfare to Moinak Lake and the Moinak Mud Bath Therapy Clinic. This would become a district of mansions and sanatoria.

Southwest of old Kezlev is a small foreland (Quarantine Point) with a jetty, protecting its harbor. Overlooking the harbor is the Saint Elijah (formerly Greek) Church; SW of it, the Golden Key Children’s Theater, the Selvinsky Gymnasium, and the World Sculpture Museum in a park setting (which was in 1905 the City’s Shakai Park). Beyond it is the old streetcar depot (1914), with the port to the east and hotels to the south. The harbor docks have cranes but no railway service.

West of the harbor and old Kezlev, Yevpatoriia forms a grid-pattern. The main E-W arterial, Lenin Avenue, begins in the east at Theater Square. This area contains most sanatoria, some former mansions (many built in the ‘Yevpatoriia Modern’ style), hotels, parks and other attractions. Just west of the harbor are the ruins of Kerkinitis (a rectangle 325 m N-S and 180 m E-W), buried in a park-like setting, now part of the Military Children’s Clinical Sanatorium. West of it, is the Yevpatoriia Regional Studies Museum.

Some of the attractions and institutions are around Theater Square (the geographic center of the city) and along Lenin Avenue. S of Theater Square is the Pushkin Theater, SE of it, Lenin Park (with playground for children and a Dino park), E of it, the Pushkin Library (and north of the library, the House of Wine Museum), NW of it, a memorial park for the Chornobyl nuclear disaster firefighters; farther west, on the N side of Lenin Avenue, is the City Courthouse, and three streets N of it, along Tokarev Street, the ‘Tropikpark’ (former botanical garden); west of the courthouse is the Ukraine Palace Hotel Complex; on the S side, several sanatoria, a sports track (recently replaced by an amusement park); farther west, on the N side, a Pioneer Hall, a Sports Palace, and a School of Fine Arts for children; on the S side, more sanatoria; the avenue ends in the west at Polupanov Street, facing Lenin Park at Moinak Lake.

More attractions are located among sanatoria S of Lenin Avenue towards the coast. These include (from east to west): the Yevpatoriia dendrological park, featuring the Crimea in miniature; south of it, the Dolphinarium for water therapy; west of it, the Aqualand water park; and south of it, the Frunze Resort Park, featuring an aquarium, musical venues, a Dolphinarium for entertainment and a park with sculptures of dinosaurs. The coast consists of a continuous fine sandy beach.

The railway, built in 1916 around the built-up Yevpatoriia to the east and a loop to the north of it, provided for the passenger depot at the western extension of Saint Nicholas Street (now International Street) and a freight depot at the northern loop. This attracted subsequent northward development of the city (streets, apartment buildings, including School No. 8 just SW and School No. 13 just SE of the station) and at the western terminus some industries (bakery, dairy). From the railway station, the International Street led west, passing Moinak Lake (on S side) and Arena Krym sports comlex (on N side), past the city limits through the villages of Uiutne, Molochne and Vityne. Northeast of the railway loop and freight terminal, a runway (1926) and aircraft repair facilities (1939) were built with residential areas and a sports field.

The post-Second World War reconstruction and development added bypass thoroughfares and blocks of new apartments to the north and west of the railway station. Thus the north-south arterial just west of this hub became Victory Avenue with four large neighborhood blocks of high rise apartments with services on its W side and two on its E side. The east-west arterial, also serving as the northern bypass of the city, comprises two segments. Its western segment, which forms the northern edge of the apartment blocks, leads westward to a traffic circle with routes NW to Myrnyi and Novoozerne at Lake Donuzlav, and S along the west side of Moinak Lake to Zaozerne (now part of Yevpatoriia). East of the level railway crossing, the eastern segment of this arterial forms a wide boulevard, then it turns SE parallel to the railway line, as it leads to a traffic circle with three streets dispersing traffic into the SE part of the city and one leading E to a bypass intersection, overseen by highway patrol and with a cluster of fuel stations: southeast (Highway P-25, through Saky to Simferopol) and northeast (Highway T-01-11, through Novoselivske to Rozdilne).

A railroad branch to the north and spurs and roadways to the northeast of the railway station facilitated two industrial areas and side-by-side residential developments with single-family housing. The first one, comprising stores, services and industries (building materials, scrap metal), is located west of this intersection and along Highway T-01-08, and is serviced by a rail spur from the northern railway loop. The second residential subdivision and industrial-service cluster are north of the Y intersection, beyond Yevpatoria’s main functioning cemetery. On the west side of Highway T-01-07 is the large Ismail Bei (Crimean Tatar) subdivision (established after 1991, with a neighborhood mosque and library), and on the E side of it is a block of services (School No. 18, building materials store) and industries (the Yevpatoriia Classical Wine Winery, a carton plant), surrounded by vineyards and serviced by a railway spur from the northern branch. That branch, originating from the northern loop, passes west of the airport and east of the winery as it turns east, beyond the city limits, to a shell limestone quarry with its own settlement (Kamenolomnia) and processing plant. Since the Russian occupation in 2014, construction began on a link to the Tavriia Highway that would bypass Yevpatoriia north of the quarry and Suvorovske towards strategic coastal facilities west of the city.

Henrykh, A. Plan g. Evpatorii (Odesa 1905)
Yevpatoriia,’ Heohrafichna entsyklopediia Ukraïny, vol 1 (Kyiv 1989)
Vyrs'kyi, D. ‘Yevpatoriia,’ Entsyklopediia istorii Ukrainy, vol 3 (Kyiv 2005)
Kutaisov, V. Kutaisova, M. Evpatoriia: Drevnii mir. Srednie veka. Novoe vremia (Kyiv 2007)
Tsalik, S. Evpatoriia. Prohulki po Malomu Ierusalymu (Simferopol 2007)
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; Exarchate of Crimea:
Karta Yevpatorii (2023)

Ihor Stebelsky

[This article was updated in 2023.]

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