Simferopol in Ukraine

As I'm passing through Simferopol on my way from Sevastopol to Kiev, I thought I'd write a little article giving some information about the place.

With a population of about three hundred and sixty thousand, Simferopol is the capital of the Crimea region in Ukraine (Crimea being an autonomous republic). There is evidence of there having been a city of some form in this area from the third century B.C.

Catherine the Second annexed the Crimean Khanate so that it became art of the Russian Empire, and the city had its name changed to Simferopol in 1784. Before that it had been called Aqmescit, which translates as 'The White Mosque'. In 1802 it became the administrative centre of its region.

There was a war in Crimea from 1854 to 1856, which resulted in more than thirty thousand Russian soldiers being buried in the city or its environs.

During the Russian Civil War of 1917 to 1922, the leader of the Tsarist White Army had his headquarters in Simferopol. The White Army was defeated by the Red Army (the Bolsheviks), and the city then became the capital of the autonomous Crimean region.

During the Second World War when the Germans briefly occupied the city, they massacred over twenty two thousand people.

The Russian Army took possession of the city again in April 1944. The next month all Crimean Tatars (other than relatives of members of the Army) were forcibly made to move to Central Asia.

In April 1954 Nikita Krushchev transferred the Crimean region from being a Russian republic to being a Ukrainian republic. When Ukraine became independent in 1991, Simferopol became the capital of the autonomous Crimean region. Crimean Tatars began to return to the city, leading to disputes when they wanted returned to them the land and property that had been taken from them when they were expelled.

As far as weather is concerned, in the Crimea the summers can be hot and humid, and the winters cold with rain or snow.

There is the longest trolleybus line in the world running from Simferopol to Yalta.

Simferopol is twinned with Moscow, Omsk, Irkutsk and Novocherkassk in Russia, and also with Ruse in Bulgaria, Heidelberg in Germany, Eskisehir in Turkey, Kecskemet in Hungary and Salem in the United States.

Europe | Ukraine

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