CRIMEA, Day 7: Tatars, Horses and Sex on a Champagne Picnic

Crimea Sudak Panorama 1Crimean tour guides are full of fascinating stories from the region’s history and culture.

If one such tale is to be believed, in the 19th century, just as Crimea’s southern coast has established itself as the Russian Riviera and a favorite of Russian royals and international nobles, it started to gain a bit of ill-repute as…well, in today’s terms, as a sex tourism hot-spot.

But this was no ordinary debauchery-by-the-sea destination. What was different about Crimea was that the customers of these special services were women – and ladies of the highest echelons of Society at that. While taking their daily promenades on the embankments of Yalta, Alushta and Sudak, madames and mademoiselles would be entertained by the Tatar dzhigityhighly skilled horsemen – showing off their, um, mastery and stature. Crimean Tatars, who were native to the peninsula and made up its largest ethnic group until the end of the 19th century, were virtually raised on horseback and their equestrian mastery was world-renowned. The rugged, wild, exotic locals with their fit bodies and commanding presence appealed to the corseted dames of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Eventually a lady would pick a dzhigit she liked best and hire him for a guided horseback excursion into the mountains and a picnic. What looked like an entirely appropriate activity came with far less Society-approved fringe benefits, dispersed in the shade of a cherry tree.

Duchesses, countesses and simple bourgeois wives squandered their husbands’ fortunes on these wilderness rides, generating waves of gossip, scandal and an occasional darker-skinned off-spring in the process.


Tatars continue to raise horses in Crimea to this day, but, for better or worse, my trek with them into the mountains of the Sudak region involved no extracurricular activities of the 19th century variety.

Instead it was 30 kilometers through some of the most beautiful and varied landscape I have ever laid eyes on. Pine forests, deciduous groves, wildflower meadows and apple orchards all the way to the top of mountain ridge, the views from which stretched all the way to the Black Sea.


I sincerely hope that the corseted ladies of yore weren’t too busy with their carnal divertissements to enjoy the real treasure of Crimea – its gorgeous landscape.

Crimea Sudak Panorama 2

Crimea Sudak Panorama 3

29 thoughts on “CRIMEA, Day 7: Tatars, Horses and Sex on a Champagne Picnic

  1. what do the tatars think about being annexed by Russia? Ive heard russians already started robbing people and taking over their businesses

    • I’ve heard that moon landing was a hoax, that Obama is satan and that tomorrow morning I will find under my pillow the million dollars that the Tooth Fairy owes me.

      Tatars (currently 12% of the population), are more evenly split than the Russians in Crimea (you know, the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY), but their national loyalty is actually with Turkey. This is the kind of info you can easily find by doing basic research rather than “hearing things.” At least I write only about the things I actually experienced and saw IN Crimea and heard from people who actually live there. And will continue to do so, even though you try to hijack every post.

      • Im not hijacking your posts no more. As a european Im just worried about th safety and integrity in Europe and since you seem to be one of the knowledgeble ones I wanted to ask you straight away.

        • In which case I say: I am not an expert. On Home & Away I write about what I saw in Crimea with my own eyes, yet you seem to take issue with it and put it in declarative terms rather than inquisitive ones (ie – repeated invocation of the Russian “occupation” of Crimea and the ominous predictions of how the people there will regret their choice soon enough). Everything else that I have cited or quoted here – I love statistics and with them you don’t have to rely on spin, whether Russian, American, or else – is available through public sources such as Wikipedia or US’ Broadcasting Board of Governors and such. On macro questions like WAS IT WORTH IT or WHAT WILL HAPPEN even much smarter and more experienced people than I wont be able to give you answers, because we are living through history as it is developing, there are a million definitions of worth, and if I had clairvoyant abilities I’d be playing the stock market.

          By the way, the Tatar family that owned the horse farm where I rode talked about the whole Ukrainian revolution as an insidious, US-orchestrated plot (with another rider in our group – just like on this blog, I do not bring up politics in my time off work, and I try to keep my blog and my job as far apart as possible).

    • Their buisnesses?Horse farming and touristic camps?Well at first the Ukrainian government didnt ever give them a land and all their “claimed” land lots which were simply occupied(not bought from the government) by tatars since 1991 are illegal,so both Russian and Ukrainian government can turned these tatars out from the claimed land lots but nobody want to loose tatars loyalty.Russians for example even promise to give tatars more land but on the highlands.
      In fact tatars are very depend on tourists now.Tourists are mostly come from Russia and Belorussia,however Ukrainian tourists are also came to Crimea despite on restrictions from the Ukrainian border guards(!).However Ukrainian tourists who could came to Crimea from the mainland by suburb trains are not a mojority now and tatars are depend on Russian and Belorussian tourists.They tried to capture the coast areas but the Russian population living there didnt allow them to do business and rapidly buy houses there.So the only tourist popular land which are available for tatars is highlands where the crowd of Russian,Belorussian,Ukrainian tourists visit Ay Petry mountain and other highland sights.
      So thats why my parents who visit the highlands of Crimea week ago saw only friendly for Russian tourists tatars who dont show any agression or protest.Many Crimean tatars in Kerch are even support the annexation because living standards in Russia are simply higher than in Ukraine.

      • Good overview, though I’d say the Tatars are rather entitled to the land, considering they’ve lived in Crimea for centuries and suffered great hardships, losses, and relocation during the Empire and the USSR days alike.

        • Greeks are also live there for centuries and suffered great hardships, losses, and relocation during the Empire and the USSR days alike.So?
          And please can you tell me how the Crimean tatars suffer during the Russian Empire?After the conquering Crimea by Russian Empire.Catherine the 2nd denied only one right of the local Crimean population.It was a right to keep slaves.Crimean tatars created one of the biggest slave trading markets in the region.They captured mostly non muslim slaves and sold them to Turkey.The slaves mostly were:Ukrainians,Russians,Greeks,Armenians who were captured mostly during slave hunting raids.
          This decision of the Russian Queen was negatively accepted by the local elite.So since that times the local elite were very Turkey orientated and were unloyal for Russian government.
          When the WW2 began a lot of Crimean tatars became a collaborators.They helped Germans and Romanians to siege Sevastopol,hunting Jews,partisans and marines.Soviet partisans were starving and have not enoth food because of them.Almost every German and Romanian squad hunting a partisans had a Tatar volunteer who helped Germans or Romanians to find a right way.During the Soviet landing operation in Evpatoria,Sudak in 1942 the Tatar collaborators helped Germans and Romanians to siege those cities while Russian,Ukrainian and Greek population helped Soviet forces.After these cities were captured bu Germans and Romanians the Tatar collaborationists hunted for a remaining Soviet soldiers and marines.During the occupation Tatar collaborationinsts hunted Jews and Krymchaks which were recognised by Germans as Jews.
          Deported Tatars didnt live bad the all time of their deportation till 1991.Of course since 1944 till 1954 there was bad enough(because the Soviet economy was in ruins after the war) but after 1954 they began to live well,like a lot of ordinary Soviet citizens.Uzbekistan was much wealthy country during the Soviet “occupation” rather than during the 23 years of pro Western “independence” now.A lot of people came to the local administration there,have a fine work and good incomes.But after collapse of the Soviet Union the economical situation in Uzbekistan became worse and many Crimeans ran away from there for a better live rather than to “their homeland”.Many of them ran to Russia with a lot of Russian refugees,many of them ran to Kazakhstan which remain only normal country in the region,many of them ran to Ukraine.Many Crimean tatars were dissapointed by Ukraine income levels and continue to ran further to Russia or even to Germany.Moreover the Turkish resettlement programs which gave money to returning Crimean tatars were canceled and Ukraine didnt allow to privatize the “claimed” land lots.

  2. Listen darling, that novel you are writing to become the Hollywood Blockbuster… you know, the one with Mr. Hemsworth at the helm? Mayhap you could set it here, in this story?

  3. I’m not entirely convinced you’re just being polite on this blog and all those pictures of you in a tank top are just a ruse. I know there are some hidden, corseted pictures to be had somewhere 🙂

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