Arabat Spit
The Arabat Spit also called Arabat Tongue, is a spit
Spit (landform)
A spit or sandspit is a deposition landform found off coasts. At one end, spits connect to land, and extend into the sea. A spit is a type of bar or beach that develops where a re-entrant occurs, such as at cove's headlands, by the process of longshore drift...

 (narrow strip of land) which separates a large, shallow and very salty system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

. The spit is located between the town of Henichesk
Henichesk is a port city along the Sea of Azov in the Kherson Oblast of southern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Henichesky Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast.-References:...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, on the north and the north-eastern shores of Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 on the south. It is separated from Henichesk by the Henichesk Strait . Another name of the strait is "Thin Strait" , which reflects the narrow geometry of the strait – it is about 4 km long, 80–150 m wide and 4.6 m deep.

The Arabat Spit is 112 km long, and from 270 m to 8 km wide; its surface area is 395 km2 and thus the average width is 3.5 km. The spit is low and straight on the Azov Sea side, whereas its Sivash side is curved. It contains two areas which are 7–8 km wide and have brown-clay hills; they are located 7.5 km and 32 km from the Henichesk Strait. The top layers of other parts of the spit are formed by sand and shells washed by the flows of the Azov Sea. Its vegetation mostly consists of various weed grasses, thorn
Prunus spinosa
Prunus spinosa is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America....

, festuce grasses, spear grass
This article is about a type of grass.For Speech Transmission Index for Public Address Systems, see Speech transmission index.For the Italian aircraft designer, see Luigi Stipa...

, crambe
Crambe is a genus of Brassicaceae native to Europe, southwest and central Asia and eastern Africa. It includes among its species seakale , grown as a leaf vegetable, Crambe cordifolia which is grown as an herbaceous border perennial, and Crambe abyssinica, which is grown for an oil from the seeds...

, salsola
Salsola is a genus of the subfamily Salsoloideae in the family Amaranthaceae. A common name of various members of this genus is saltwort, for its salt tolerance.-Description:...

, salicornia, Carex colchica, tamarisk
The genus Tamarix is composed of about 50-60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Eurasia and Africa...

, rose hip
Rose hip
The rose hip, or rose haw, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form in spring, and ripen in late summer through autumn.-Usage:...

, liquorice, etc. Nowadays, the spit is a health resort and its Azov Sea side is used as a beach. Water is shallow with the depth reaching 2 meters only some 100–200 meters from the shore. Its temperature is around 0 °C in winter (near freezing), 10–15 °C in spring and autumn, and 25–30 °C in summer; air temperature is almost the same. About half of the Spit belongs to the Kherson Oblast
Kherson Oblast
Kherson Oblast is an oblast in southern Ukraine, just north of Crimea. Its administrative center is Kherson. The area of the region is 29000 km², its population is 1.12 million.Important cities in the oblast include:...

, Ukraine and another half to Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...



The spit is very young and was created by sedimentation processes around 1100–1200 AD.
It was wild until 1835 when a road and five stations spaced by 25–30 km were built along it for postal delivery. Later in the 19th century, 25 rural and 3 military settlements and one village named Arabat appeared on the spit. The rural population amounted to some 235 people whose occupation was mostly fishery, farming and salt production. The latter activity is traditional for the region due to the vast areas of shallow and very saline water in the Sivash lagoons. The salt production in 19th century was about 24,000 tonnes/year on the Arabat Spit alone.

Arabat Fortress

The southernmost part of Arabat Spit hosts a deserted historical fortress named Arabat Fortress. Its name originates from either Arabic "rabat" meaning a "military post" or Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 "arabat" meaning a "suburb" and is the origin of the name of the Arabat Spit. Its purpose was to guard the spit and Crimea from invasions. The fortress was built around 17th century by the Turkish army and was first mentioned by the French Engineer and cartographer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan in 1660 in his book "Description d'Ukranie".

The fortress had an advanced military design with octagonal shape and 3-meter thick stone walls surrounded by an earthen wall and a moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

. It contained five towers and two gates. Several rows of arrowslits faced east, north and west and were designed for various artillery types. Whereas the fortress was hard to conquer when properly defended, due to its remote location from Turkey, its garrison was often understaffed and defended by the Russian army in 1737 and 1771. After Crimea became part of Russia the fortress was abandoned, but later refurbished and used by Russians during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 of 1853–1856 to defend the Crimean coast. After the war, the fortress was abandoned again and its walls were used by locals as a source of stone. The fortress was an area of heavy fighting between the Soviet Red Army and the White Army
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in 1920 and the German Army during the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1941–1944.
In 1968, some scenes of a famous Soviet movie Two Comrades Were Serving
Two Comrades Were Serving
Two Comrades Were Serving is a 1968 Soviet film directed by Yevgeni Karelov, script by Yuli Dunsky and Valeri Frid. The film is about the Russian civil war, in particular, the battle for the Crimean peninsula.- Plot :...

was filmed there.

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