Oleshky Sands

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Oleshky Sands
Олешківські піски
Херсонська область, Національний природний парк Олешківські піски. Автор Гаврилюк С. В. (5).JPG
Central part of Oleshky Sands in spring
Area161.2 km2 (62.2 sq mi)
TypeSand desert
State/ProvinceKherson Oblast
DistrictOleshky Raion
Coordinates46°35′N 33°03′E / 46.58°N 33.05°E / 46.58; 33.05
Pine forest is man-made here, but sometimes independent growth is also found.

Oleshky Sands (Ukrainian: Олешківські піски, romanizedOleshkivsʹki pisky) is a desert in Ukraine.[1] It is situated inland from the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea and consists of sand dunes or kuchuhury (locally), which reach a height up to five meters. A sparse vegetation can be located across the sands.


The sands are thought to be formed during the most recent ice age by aeolian processes accumulating and forming cliffs of lower parts of nearby river Dnieper. It is speculated that the number of vegetation was reduced by herds of sheep who were introduced there by Eduard von Falz-Fein who used the sands, formerly populated by weeds, as a pasture.


The Oleshky Desert is located in Oleshky Raion, Kherson Oblast, 30 km (~20 mi) east of Kherson. Before the Russian annexation of the Crimean Khanate at the end of the 18th century, the territory belonged to the nomad Nogai Hordes, particularly the Djambuilut Horde. No detailed historical information about the region has survived.

The closest populated settlement is seven kilometers away (~4.5 mi). In Soviet times the sands were used as an Air Force bombing range for pilots of the Warsaw Pact alliance. To this day there is a possibility of finding some unexploded ordnance.


Due to its temperature and the amount of precipitation these sands sometimes are qualified as a semi-desert. Oleshky Sands are 15 km across (~10 mi) and they are surrounded by a very dense forest planted to prevent dunes moving. Due to its density, the forest often catches fire. Although a relatively small sandy steppe, the Oleshky Sands have sandstorms.[2] They occur due to the type of the sand in the area as it is very fine and is easily picked up by a wind. The intensity of the sandstorms is rather weak. In the Oleshky sands at the depth of 30–40 m (~100 ft) there is an underground lake, which forms an essential part of the local environment.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes Oleshky Sands are declared the largest desert (or sands) in Europe, but the largest sandy desert in Europe is Ryn Desert (40,000 km²), it is 20 times larger
  2. ^ Blogsite(in Russian)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°35′00″N 33°03′00″E / 46.58333°N 33.05000°E / 46.58333; 33.05000