Published time: February 27, 2014 04:51                                                           
Edited time: March 02, 2014 19:57

With its multinational society and a long history of conquests, the Crimean Peninsula has always been a crossroads of cultures – and a hotbed of conflicts. Amid Ukrainian turmoil, every ethnic group of Crimeans has its own vision of the region’s future.

  What is Crimea?

  Now known as Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the picturesque  peninsula shooting out into Black Sea from mainland Ukraine was  for centuries colonized and conquered by historic empires and  nomadic tribes. Greeks, Scythians, Byzantians and the Genoese  have all left traces of their presence in Crimean archeological  sites and placenames.

The City of Sevastopol on the Black Sea shore, the Crimea.(RIA Novosti / Igor Mikhalev)

The City of Sevastopol on the Black Sea shore, the Crimea.(RIA Novosti / Igor Mikhalev)


  The Russian Empire annexed the territory of Crimea in the last  quarter of the 18th century, after a number of bloody wars with  the Ottoman Empire.

  As part of the 1774 Kuchuk-Kainarji peace treaty the Crimean  Khanate, previously subordinate to Ottomans and notorious for its  brutal and perpetual slave raids into East Slavic lands, aligned  itself with Russia. Soon Empress Catherine the Great abolished  the Crimean Khanate, giving them a historic Greek name of  Taurida.

  Soviet citizens got to know Crimea as an “all-Union health  resort,” with many of those born in the Soviet Union sharing  nostalgic memories of children’s holiday camps and seaside.

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