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Главная страница » Библиотека » П.П. Фирсов. «Форос»

Foros in English

Dear Reader!

You have made an excellent choice! This book is a unique collection of legends, historical facts and personal reminiscence related to one of the most beautiful places in the world. This place is called Foros.

Why this name?

The word «Foros» is of Greek origin and has been considered to mean «wind», «waft of a following wind». Indeed, wind in Foros is frequent and strong. On the other hand, in Ancient Greek, «Foros» means «tribute», or «duty». Historians believe that in V century B.C. it was a collection place for duties paid to the Dolos Union of Ancient Greek cities and isles in the Aegean Sea. Yet, there are other explanations. Some people reckon that the name originates from the word «Faros», a location in ancient Alexandria city where the famous lighthouse was situated. Another version states that Genova colony named Fori gave its name to today's Foros. Anyway, the name of Foros is still a riddle.

Foros is the most southern health resort in Crimea. Sarych Cape, which is the southernmost point of the Crimean peninsula, is located nearly. Crimean Mountains here are the lowest and come closest to the sea. Rocks of Foros are only 500—600 m above the sea level (in Yalta, mountains are more than 1000 m high). The Foros Cliff is 655 m high. Next comes the Sail Cliff, which is the best site for competitions of rock climbers. The Red Cliff with the famous Resurrection Church (412 meters above the sea level) has long been the signature sight of Foros.

The Resurrection Church was built to give honor to the rescue of Russian Emperor Alexander III in a railway wreck near the town of Kharkov, on his way from Livadia, on October 17,1888. All the cars of the train were almost completely destroyed but one, the car where the Emperor and his family traveled. This was perceived by everyone as a miracle, and many churches were built to commemorate this miracle all around Russia. The church, built of Inkerman limestone, was decorated with Carrare marble, exquisite Byzantine-style ornament and twenty-eight stained-glass windows.

After 1917, the church saw grim years. Golden domes and crosses were pulled down. The bell-tower collapsed; rain and snow would fall down through the holes in the ceiling. Sometimes tourists would put camp-fire inside, thus destroying the unique icons and frescoes. Restoration works began in 1987. In 1990, on the request of the believers' community, the Resurrection Church was given to the Russian Orthodox Church. After that date, the restoration works were done by archimandrite Pyotr (Posadnev), who devoted all his efforts to the cause of the Church's revival. His tragic death on August 20, 1997, terminated his life but can never turn down the light he had set on — the light of the golden domes of the Resurrection Church high above Foros.

Above the Red Cliff, overlooking the spectacular landscape, Baidar Gates Pass is situated. Gates to the Southern Coast of Crimea it is, indeed. In 1787, Catherine the Great, during Her Majesty's visit around the southern territories newly added to the Russian Crown, was contemplating this magnificent sight from this point. It should be mentioned that the whole area was absolute wilderness, hardly accessible then. Later on, in 1848, the Baidar Gates Memorial was built to commemorate the completion of construction of the highway along the Southern Coast of Crimea, and also the visit of Catherine the Great. The new highway came quite handy when the Church on the Red Cliff was constructed, but back in 1787, Catherine II had to stop at the Baidar Pass, simply because there was no road further on. Prince Grigory Potyomkin, Catherine's favorite, played the key role in the development of this territory, including organization of Russian fleet on the Black Sea, construction of roads and amelioration of lands, making this remote area fit for living. Catherine the Great generously offered newly acquired land sites to the noble, yet the boundaries between the property sites were not clearly defined thus providing grounds for disputes. After some time, the Emperor resolved the disputes by proclaiming that these lands belong to nobody but the Russian Crown. Later on, Emperor Alexander I offered lands in Foros to Marshal K.A. Naryshkin, while Tesseli, the neighboring property, was given to General N.N. Rayevsky, hero of the 1812 War. After that, Foros subsequently belonged to Prince L.M. Golitsyn and Count A.P. Ignatiev.

In 1887, Alexander Grigorievitch Kuznetsov, Moscow tea trader, becomes the owner of Foros Estate. This marks a completely new era in the history of Foros.

Alexander Kuznetsov inherited large tea trade business from his grandfather, Alexey Gubkin. Being monopolist in tea manufacturing and trade, he played a prominent role in Russian business community. In addition to tea trade, he also had a diary business and a horse-breeding farm. To the unheard-of fortune he inherited from his grandfather Kuznetsov added enormous earnings, thus becoming one of the richest men in Russia. His yacht «Foros» was considered second in the world in terms of size and beauty. In 1894, Edward VII, the future king of England, visited the yacht in Cannes. Alexander Kuznetsov donated large sums of money for charity purposes. Many rural schools, libraries, and the Biology Station in Sevastopol (today known as the Aquarium Museum) were constructed with his money. Construction of the Resurrection Church in Foros, in commemoration of the miraculous rescue of Emperor Alexander III in a railway wreck near Kharkov brought about ever deeper respect and glory for Alexander Kuznetsov. Pictures of the Resurrection Church decorated tea cans, while customers in the company shops were given postcards with the view of the Church. Kuznetsov was among the First landowners in the Southern Coast of Crimea to introduce electricity, telephone and cable communication.

His wines produced from grapes grown locally had a high reputation. Unfortunately, in 1887, vineyards got infected with phylloxera pests and had to be destroyed in order to stop their further spreading. In the XX century, people learned how to control phylloxera, and vineyards were revived, but it didn't last long. Today, there are no vineyards in Foros. However, unique wine cellars designed to meet all the finest technology requirements still remain. It's a pity that they are not used according to the original purpose, but who knows, maybe one day barrels with wine will appear once again in the dark underground maze...

In 1889, architect Billing builds a two-storey mansion in Russian Classicism style for Kuznetsov. Walls of the higher storey are decorated with 15 wall paintings by famous landscape artist Yuly Klever. A marvelous park was arranged near the mansion. This required much time, effort and money. Transportation of exotic trees from Africa or America was costly at that time. Hopefully, many exotic species were exported from Nikitsky Botanical Garden. However, some specimen in Foros Park are only found here, like, for example, Chinese «Golden» Juniper — the only tree in entire Crimea.

Arrangement of this park required enormous engineering work. It was necessary to level the sites, organize ponds at different height, letting waterfalls gurgle, and build stone and light wooden bridges... Back then, Foros estate with its magnificent park resembled a zoo, with ducks and swans gliding along still water in the ponds, canaries and other animals, even antelopes. Paradise Comer is one of the most quiet and peaceful places in Foros. It is often called «comer of silence and tranquility», because no wind or breeze ever blows there. Today, there are no more antelopes, but many cedar, cypresses, sequoias, yews, yuccas, junipers, pines, acacias, palms, pome-granate trees, oaks, unusual madrone trees with exfoliating bark that reveals a pinkish trunk and many other species, even one birch-tree, thrive in the Foros Park.

Unfortunately, all his wealth could not improve Alexander Kuznetsov's poor health. He died at the age of forty. He was never married and ownership of Foros estate moved to his younger brothers and sisters. Eventually, Konstantin Ushkov, merchant from Yelabuga, becomes the owner of Foros. He continued amelioration of the mansion, adding new collections of arts to the existing beautiful pictures. In the beginning, he was fascinated with the idea of horse racing. He even built a stable and other facilities and moved dozens of race horses to his Foros estate (the race course used to be near the grove of Aleppo pines. This site has been leveled specifically for this purpose). However, for some reasons horse racing didn't go well, and energetic Ushkov switched to another project — construction of electric railroad along the Southern Coast.

Engineer Nikolai Garin (better known under his pen-name Garin-Mikhailovsky, as he was also a famous Russian writer) was the author of the design. Results of the geology survey came handy later, during the construction of Yalta-Sevastopol motorway. Nikolai Garin died in 1906, and the railroad project was never completed. Konstantin Ushkov also wanted to build a cable-railroad to link Foros and the Resurrection Church but never implemented this either.

Sister of Konstantin Ushkov's step-mother became second wife of great Russian opera-singer Fyodor Shalyapin (Iola Tomagi, Italian Ballet dancer, was his first wife). Fyodor Shalyapin visited Foros in 1916. Here, together with the celebrated Russian writer Maxim Gorky, they wrote a book of Shalyapin's reminiscences. Later, during the period from 1933 to 1936, Maxim Gorky spent more than half a year, altogether, in Tesseli estate, next to Foros.

Ushkov wanted to make his Foros estate a resort center for Russian intellectual elite, with casino, tennis courts, bowling alley and many other features, but the revolution of 1917 changed all the things. The Ushkovs emigrated. Foros estate became the property of the Soviet state. First, it served as a military hospital. In 1922 it housed a health center of the Central Committee of Trade Union of Textile Industry. In 1935 it was used as children's health center of the USSR Central Executive Committee. Later on, it became the favorite health resort of government officials and some other prominent figures in Soviet history.

Molotov, Mikoyan, cosmonauts German Titov and Yuri Gagarin, soviet movie star Liubov Orlova, writer Yulian Semyonov, and many other stayed in Foros health resort.

Small isolated bays between Foros and Sarych Cape, calm and silent, attracted interest of Raisa and Mikhail Gorbachev. They chose one of these bays near Tesseli as a location for their dacha, which means «a country house» in Russian. «Zarya» site, which is the official name of this dacha, has a total area of more than 50 hectares (500 000 m²). The main building has three storeys and a total area of several thousand square meters. There are also a swimming pool, greenhouse, cinema theater in the open air, some bungalow houses on the beach, waterfalls, fountains, mooring pier for boats and a landing pad for helicopters. August the 19-th, 1991, made Foros known all over the world. We still don't know what was happening in the dacha back then. Residents of Foros settlement recall that telephone and other means of communications were cut, so that no one living in Foros was able to communicate with anybody outside. Hopefully, on August 21, the situation was resolved. Today, «Zarya» site is used as a venue for various summits and meetings, and hosts top-ranked officials.

Foros is a unique natural health resort. Here, air is less humid than in Yalta, which, together with breeze, makes it easier to withstand summer heat. Some figures: Average annual number of sunny hours in Foros is 2320 (compare it with 2200 in Sochi and 2300 on Yalta). There are no big industrial sites around Foros.

Junipers and cedars render Foros air its purity and fill it with bactericidal substances, making it ever more healing. During the daytime, breeze from the sea enriches air with iodine, magnesium and other microelements, while during the night air coming down from the mountains brings phytoncids produced by trees. Thus, Foros environment combines revitalizing forest phytoncids, invigorating mountain air and enlivening breeze from the sea.

Foros Health Center welcomes you and offers a range of medical services and leisure facilities — swimming pool with sea water, massage rooms, gymnasiums, cinema, bar, restaurant, casino, discotheque, and many other. We wish you to have a wonderful time here!

Welcome to Foros!

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