Mount Sokol: Climb to the Top of the Highest Coral Reef in Europe

A legend says that in the old days, when people had not yet lived in Crimea, two birds fought over the sea – an eagle and a falcon. The falcon was younger, the eagle was stronger, and it is not known who would have won if the sea had not been angry. It was it that turned the beautiful birds into high mountains that remained on the shore forever. The settlement Novy Svet (New World) is located just between these mountains at the shore of amazing Green Bay.

Overlooking Green Bay from Sokol Mountain
Breathtaking view from the peak of Sokol (Falcon) Mountain, which lies 474 metres above the peaceful “Zelenaya Buhta\” (Green Bay) and the settlement of Novy Svet (New World), Crimea.

Mount Sokol is one of the highest mountains at this part of the South Coast of the Crimean peninsula. The ancient Romans called it Senator, and later the Tatars gave it a name – Kush-Kaya (Quş qaya) in translation with Turkic – “The bird’s rock”. Its height is about 474 meters, the length is 1200 m, width is from 800 to 1000 m. From the shore of the Black Sea, it seems as if it is almost a sheer cliff and it can be taken only by professional climbers, but in fact, it is possible can climb to the top for anybody, just from the other side. There are several routs to climb on its peak, and some parts are quite complicated, but it is possible to take it even for kids. One route passes along the old road that used to lead to the Golitsyn estate, but now it is used only by walking tourists. A way up to the peak takes about 2.5 hours, and almost the same time down. At the top of the mountain can be windy, so it is better to take a jacket and maybe a hat depending on weather conditions. The walkway passes rocks and roots, so comfortable shoes must-have. It’s better not to take a lot of things: a light snack and water are enough, and do not forget the camera! The concentration of amazing views on each square meter is just cosmic! No wonder that the amazing nature and beautiful landscapes and seascapes bring many travelers here.

What can be seen on the route?

The Amazing Sudak Pine-Tree at Sokol Mountain
This exceptional Stankevich pine grows on a steep slope, almost at the peak (about 410 metres above sea level)

You can climb to the very top and see the sea stretching to the horizon. From here – a stunning view of the Green Bay and Novy Svet settlement. But on this route, unexpected turns open up at any turn. So, on the local slopes there is a relict pine of Stankevich (also known as Sudak pine), which has survived to this day since the Mesozoic era without changes. It has bizarre curved trunks coursed by strong winds. There are picturesque fallen trunks, and there are conifers, completely overgrown with bluish moss. Walking in this area was especially recommended by the famous Russian doctor Sergey Botkin. So, he proved that just 45 minutes spent among pine trees and junipers is enough for the lungs to begin to open completely. Yes, here you can truly find out what it means to “breathe deeply”!

Here can also see the ruins – the remains of fortifying structures, an ancient water supply system, built on the orders of Prince Golitsyn. There is even a bridge over the gorge! About halfway through the route, another discovery awaits. It is a spring of St. Anastasia. Here you can not only replenish the reserves of drinking water but also swim. A font is cut down in the mountain, which is deep enough and almost always filled with water. The place is clean and ennobled. Its condition is maintained by novices of the Bakhchisarai monastery.

Interestingly, this mountain is actually the oldest coral reef, one of the largest surviving in Europe. Complex geological processes turned the remains of fossil organisms (corals, sponges, bryozoans) and algae that released lime into a dense stone. They say that the gray mountain after the rain becomes almost purple. Then it’s not at all difficult to imagine how massive it was when it was still a reef 150 million years ago!

Crimean Mountain Sokol will give you an incredible drive (energy). The feeling of a conquered peak is unlikely to-be-forgotten! The whole route also gives incredible impressions: mountain trails, natural attractions, small curved pine trees growing in the rock, fresh air with mix of the sea and juniper smells, the blue Black Sea will remain pleasant memories in your photographs.

Photographs from the Tour

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