Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Kerch

 Mount Mithridat or Mitridates (Kerch)

Kerch is a large town in eastern Crimea on the shore of the Strait of Kerch. Its history dates back thousands of years making it one of the oldest cities in the World. Today this area is littered by historical and architectural monuments dating to different eras and cultures.

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel Destinations in Kerch

Mount Mithridat or Mitridates (Гора Митридат) (Kerch)

Mount Mithridat or Mitridates (Kerch)

Mount Mithridat is the main attraction of the city of Kerch. It reaches a height of 92 meters and dominates surrounding area. Mithridat Stairs lead to the top of the mountain with total of 436 steps. It was designed by an Italian architect Digby in 1833- 40. From here you can admire the wonderful view of Kerch Bay.

 

Mithridatism is a medical term describing developing immunity against poison by self- administartion of non- lethal amounts that are gradually increased over time. The term comes from Mithridates VI, the king Pontus who is said to take poison every day in order to avoid the fate of his father Mithridates V who died from being poisoned.

 

Strategic location of Mount Mithridat was recognized centuries ago by people who once lived here. During a period of Antiquity an ancient city of Panticapaeum once stood here. It served as a capital of Pontus, powerful local state. Its king Mithridat was a descendent of one of Alexander the Great's generals, Seleucid, who later organized a Seleucid dynasty. He ruled his empire in 120- 63 BC until he started a war with the Roman Republic. Eventually Pompey the Great managed to defeat his empire. One of Mithridat's sons Farnak rebelled against his father and organized a rebellion aided by the Romans. Mithridat climbed the mountain that today bears his name. There he took poison once he realized there is no escape. The legend claims that Mithridat took small portions of this poison since teen years in order to develop immunity against any attempt of assassination. So the poison didn't work, so Mithridat asked his bodyguard and friend Bitoita of Gaelic origin to stab him with a sword. Bitoita obliged and killed his master.

 

Mount Mithridat is a site of archeologcal excavations since the 19th century. Removing newer Kerch buildings revealed a huge necropolis, partly destroyed by digs of local robbers who hunted for ancient relics. Mount Mithridat housed over 3500 ancient crypts and only few hundred of them were studied by scientists.

 

Mount Mithridat became an important strategic site during World War II and defense of Kerch. After bitter siege the troops of 318 Novosibirsk division broke through a tight Nazi defenses and stormed Mount Mithridat. There they planted a red flag and took advantage of its dominant position over Kerch. Just few days later German troops have left Kerch and began retreat deep into Crimean peninsula. An Obelisk of Glory was constructed on top of Mount Mithridat in 1944 marking this even. The Eternal Fire was opened after liberation of Kerch and completion of World War II.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

 

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