The Arabat Spit (Ukrainian: Арабатська коса; Russian: Арабатская коса) or Arabat Arrow is a barrier spit which separates a large, shallow and very salty system of lagoons named Syvash from the Sea of Azov. The spit is located between the Henichesk Strait to the north and the north-eastern shores of Crimea to the south.[3]

Arabat Spit
Арабатська стрілка
Арабатская стрелка
Arabat arrow.jpg
LocationHenichesk Raion, Republic of Crimea, Ukraine/Russian Federation (disputed[nb 1])
Coordinates45°42′N 35°00′E / 45.700°N 35.000°E / 45.700; 35.000Coordinates: 45°42′N 35°00′E / 45.700°N 35.000°E / 45.700; 35.000
Southern part of the Arabat Arrow. View from Arabat Fortress


The spit is commonly called the Arabat Arrow (Ukrainian: Арабатська стрілка, Arabatska strilka; Crimean Tatar: Arabat beli; Russian: Арабатская стрелка, Arabatskaya strelka) in Russia and Ukraine.

Why the landform is called an "arrow" isn't known (it may be based on its shape), but it has been called that since at least the middle of the 19th century.[4]

The Arabat part of the name comes from the Arabat Fortress, a 17th-century Turkish fort at the southern end of the spit. "Arabat" derives from either Arabic "rabat" meaning a "military post" or Arabic "rabad" meaning a "suburb".[5]

Geography and geologyEdit

The Arabat Arrow is 112 km (70 mi) long,[6] and from 0.270 to 8 km (0.17 to 5.0 mi) wide;[7][8] its surface area is 395 km2 (153 sq mi) and thus the average width is 3.5 km (2.2 mi). The spit is low and straight on the Azov Sea side, whereas its Sivash side is more convoluted. It contains two areas which are 7–8 km (4–5 mi) wide and have brown-clay hills; they are located 7.5 km (4.7 mi) and 32 km (20 mi) 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, festuce grasses, spear grass, crambe, salsola, salicornia, Carex colchica, tamarisk, rose hip, liquorice, etc.[9][10] Offshore water is shallow with the depth reaching 2 m (7 ft) only some 100–200 m (330–660 ft) from the shore.[11] Its temperature is around 0 °C (32 °F) in winter (near freezing), 10–15 °C (50–59 °F) in spring and autumn, and 25–30 °C (77–86 °F) in summer; air temperature is almost the same.[12]

The spit is very young and was created by sedimentation processes around 1100–1200 AD.[13]


The Arabat Arrow was wild until 1835 when a road and five stations at 25–30 km (16–19 mi) intervals 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 fishing, 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. Salt production in the 19th century was about 24,000 tonnes per year (26,000 short tons per year) on the Arabat Arrow alone.[10]

Nowadays, the spit is a health resort and its Azov Sea side is used as a beach.

While the spit is geophysically a part of the Crimean Peninsula, politically its northern half belongs to Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, while its southern portion is, de facto since 2014, a part of the Russian Republic of Crimea.[1][2] The entirety of the spit was occupied during the annexation, although Russia withdrew its forces from the northern Kherson side in December 2014.[14] As of 25 February 2022, the entire spit is back under the control of Russian forces.

Populated placesEdit

The rural communities of Henicheska Hirka, Shchaslyvtseve and Strilkove are located in the northern section of the spit, within the Kherson Oblast. The community of Solyane is located in the southern part of the spit, administered as part of the Republic of Crimea.


Arabat Spit is a popular place for summer vacation among Ukrainians because of the warm water of the Sea of Azov. There are a variety of hotels and guesthouses on the first line of the sea. Arabat Spit is a popular spot among kitesurfers and windsurfers.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The status of the Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is currently under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers the Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities since the March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Gutterman, Steve. "Putin signs Crimea treaty, will not seize other Ukraine regions". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ukraine crisis timeline, BBC News
  3. ^ Semenov, p.624
  4. ^ Shutov, Introduction Archived 2013-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Arabat Fortress Archived 2014-03-23 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  6. ^ Petrov, V.P. (1964). Geography of the Soviet Union: Physical features. p. 112.
  7. ^ V. I. Borisov and E. I. Kapitonov (1973). Azov Sea (in Russian). KKI. Archived from the original on 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  8. ^ Сиваш in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969–1978 (in Russian)
  9. ^ Shutov, Part 1 Archived 2013-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b Semenov, p.111
  11. ^ Арабатская стрелка Archived 2011-02-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  12. ^ Shutov, Part 5 Archived 2013-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Shutov, Part 4 Archived 2013-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Россия убрала войска с Арабатской стрелки [Russian troops removed from the Arabat Spit] (in Russian). Ukrinform. 9 December 2014. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.


External linksEdit