The area is notable for its rocky terrain due to its proximity to Crimean mountains. There are also vestiges of a Byzantine defensive tower and a 15th-century Genoese fortress of which the city name has derived. The town was called Aluston (Αλουστον) in the Byzantine Empire, and Lusta during the Genoese rule. Adam Mickiewicz dedicated two of his Crimean Sonnets to Alushta.
In 1910, 544 Jews lived in Alushta, consisting about 13% of the town population. In 1939, they consisted only 2.3% of the town overall population, numbering 251 individuals. On 4 November 1941, the Germans occupied the town and on 24 November 1941, a unit of sonderkommando 10b shot to death 30 Jews along with captured communists and partisans. In early December 1941, about 250 Jews from Alushta were shot to death by sonderkommando 11b in the park of trade union sanatorium no. 7, which is today in the local center for children and creativity.