The Crimean Mountains (Ukrainian: Кримські Гори, translit. Krymski Hory; Russian: Крымские Горы, translit. Krymskie Gory; Crimean Tatar: Qırım dağları) is a range of mountains running parallel to the south-east coast of Crimea, Ukraine, between about 8-13 kilometer (5–8 miles) from the sea. Toward the west, the mountains drop steeply to the Black Sea, and to the east, they change slowly into a steppe landscape.
Crimean Mountains consist of three subranges. The highest is the Main range. Main range is subdivided into several massives, known as yaylas or mountain plateaus (Yayla is Crimean Tatar for "Alpine Meadow"). They are:
- Baydar Yayla
- Ay-Petri Yayla
- Yalta Yayla
- Nikita Yayla
- Hurzuf Yayla
- Babugan Yayla
- Chatyr-Dag Yayla
- Dologorukovskaya (Subatkan) Yayla
- Demirji Yayla
- Karabi Yayla
The Crimea's highest peak is the Roman-Kosh (Ukrainian: Роман-Кош; Russian: Роман-Кош, Crimean Tatar: Roman Qoş) on the Babugan Yayla at 1,545 metres (5,069 ft). Other important peaks over 1,200 metres include:
- Demir-Kapu (Ukrainian: Демір-Капу, Russian: Демир-Капу, Crimean Tatar: Demir Qapı) 1,540 m in the Babugan Yayla;
- Zeytin-Kosh (Ukrainian: Зейтин-Кош; Russian: Зейтин-Кош, Crimean Tatar: Zeytün Qoş) 1,537 m in the Babugan Yayla;
- Kemal-Egerek (Ukrainian: Кемаль-Егерек, Russian: Кемаль-Эгерек, Crimean Tatar: Kemal Egerek) 1,529 m in the Babugan Yayla;
- Eklizi-Burun (Ukrainian: Еклізі-Бурун, Russian: Эклизи-Бурун, Crimean Tatar: Eklizi Burun) 1,527 m in the Chatyrdag Yayla;
- Lapata (Ukrainian: Лапата; Russian: Лапата, Crimean Tatar: Lapata) 1,406 m in the Yaltynska Yayla, Yalta Yaylası;
- Northern Demirji (Ukrainian: Північний Демірджі, Russian: Северный Демирджи, Crimean Tatar: Şimaliy Demirci) 1,356 m in the Demirci Yayla;
- Ai-Petri (Ukrainian: Ай-Петрі, Russian: Ай-Петри, Crimean Tatar: Ay Petri) 1,234 m in the Ay Petri Yaylası.
The most important passes over the Crimean Mountains are:
- Angarskyi Pass near the Perevalne village, on a road from Alushta to Simferopol
- Baydar Pass near Foros, connecting Baydar Valley and the sea coast
- Laspi Pass near Cape Aya, on a road from Yalta to Sevastopol.
Rivers of the Crimean Mountains include the Alma River, Chernaya River, and Salhir River on the northern slope and Uchan-su River on the southern slope which forms the Uchan-su waterfall, a popular tourist attraction and highest waterfall in Ukraine.
Archaeologists have found the earliest anatomically modern humans in Europe in the Crimean mountains' Buran-Kaya caves. The fossils are 32,000 years old, with the artifacts linked to the Gravettian culture. The fossils have cut marks suggesting a post-mortem defleshing ritual.
- Prat, Sandrine; Péan, Stéphane C.; Crépin, Laurent; Drucker, Dorothée G.; Puaud, Simon J.; Valladas, Hélène; Lázničková-Galetová, Martina; van der Plicht, Johannes et al. (17 June 2011). "The Oldest Anatomically Modern Humans from Far Southeast Europe: Direct Dating, Culture and Behavior". plosone. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Carpenter, Jennifer (20 June 2011). "Early human fossils unearthed in Ukraine". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
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- Crimean mountains - view on all parts of mountains of Crimea
- Mountains of Crimea - Great collection of Crimean mountains from private mountain guide Sergey Sorokin
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