Monday, January 30, 2006

The Nikitskiy Imperial Arboretum And Gardens, Yalta, Crimea

"On the 10th of June, 1811, with the active participation of scientist-botanist, inspector in silkworm breeding in the South of Russia, M. Biberstein, "The edict of the founding of the Imperial Botanical Gardens [Arboretum] at the public cost in the Crimea" was signed in Petersburg [Imperial Russia, by order of Tsar Alexander I]. In that same year, near the village of Nikitskiy, six kilometers from Yalta (now - settlement Botanitcheskoye), 1012,5 acres of land were bought from landowner Smirnov. M. Biberstein offered his assistant, 30-year old K.K.[Christian] Steven [of Russian citizenship, though originally from Sweden], the post of the manager of the garden. In September 1812, the first plantings were made. So, the beginnings of the modern State Nikitskiy Botanical Gardens were marked. During 14 years of tireless activity K.K. Steven, nicknamed afterwards "The Nestor of Russian botanists", had gathered more than 450 species, hybrids and kinds of plants, practically from all the countries of the world.

In the Lower Park of the garden grows Californian oak (it cannot be met anywhere else in Ukraine), and in the Seaside Park there are the most heat-loving trees and shrubs: myrtle, pheyhoa, orchidaceous tree, and hamerops (palmetto). In Nikitskiy Gardens there are also Allepian pine-trees, Numidian (Algerian) silver-trees, grass-leaved Californian oaks and Arizonian cypresses, Virginian junipers and the only specimen of "iron tree" (Persian parottiya). The tree reaches the height of 6 metres, has the crown of broad-oval leaves, and takes pink-orange coloration in autumn.

The excursion about Nikitskiy Gardens begins in the Upper Park, where along the skilfully put into shape alleys, one can meet the plantations, the species of which were delivered from all the continents of the Earth: bamboo from Northern China, evergreen stone oak, powerful trees of silver fir, plantain, and gigantic sequoiadendron (Wellingtonia). In this part of the garden, the 500-year old berry-like yew trees grow, reminding one of the former local relic forests." ...

Text credit (adapted for clarity): © 2002 Ukrainian Ministry for Health Resorts and Tourism and Tavrical National University.

Today, the Nikitskiy Botanical Garden (Arboretum) is considered one of the finest in Europe and the whole world. Its parks are a vast open-air museum which comprise more than 18,000 species of trees and plants. It is administered by the Ukraine Academy of Agrarian Sciences.

Nikitskiy Botanical Garden (Arboretum), near Yalta, Crimea (Autonomous Republic of Crimea), Ukraine.


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