Feodosia (Russian: Феодосия, Feodosiya; Ukrainian: Феодо́сія, Теодо́сія, Feodosiia, Teodosiia; Crimean Tatar and Turkish: Kefe), also called Theodosia (from Greek: Θεοδοσία), is a port and resort, a town of regional significance in Crimea on the Black Sea coast. Feodosia serves as the administrative center of Feodosia Municipality, one of the regions into which Crimea is divided. During much of its history the city was known as Caffa (Ligurian: Cafà) or Kaffa. According to the most recent census, its population is 69,145 (2014 Census).
Genoese fortress of Caffa
|Elevation||50 m (160 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (MSK)|
|Former names||Kefe (until 1784), Caffa (until the 15th century)|
Theodosia (Greek colony)
The city was founded as Theodosia (Θεοδοσία) by Greek colonists from Miletos in the 6th century BC. Noted for its rich agricultural lands, on which its trade depended, the city was destroyed by the Huns in the 4th century AD.
Theodosia remained a minor village for much of the next nine hundred years. It was at times part of the sphere of influence of the Khazars (excavations have revealed Khazar artifacts dating back to the 9th century) and of the Byzantine Empire.
A settlement named Kaphâs (alternate romanized spelling Cafâs, Greek: Καφᾶς) existed surrounding Theodosia prior to the penetration of Genoese into the Black Sea. The archaeological evidence indicates that during the Middle Ages the population about Theodosia never decreased to zero; several medieval churches are found in the area dating from the times of Late Antiquity/Early Middle Ages. However, the population had become completely agrarian. A small local Greek population must have existed in situ and in the neighboring settlements. Likely, from the 9th century there were Cumans and Goths living alongside the Greeks, and by 1270s, perhaps some Tatars and Armenians as well.
Kaffa (Genoese colony)
In the late 13th century, traders from the Republic of Genoa arrived and purchased the city from the ruling Golden Horde. They established a flourishing trading settlement called Kaffa, which virtually monopolized trade in the Black Sea region and served as a major port and administrative center for the Genoese settlements around the Sea. It came to house one of Europe's biggest slave markets. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia also adds that the city of Caffa was established during the times when the area was ruled by the Khan of the Golden Horde Mengu-Timur.
Ibn Battuta visited the city, noting it was a "great city along the sea coast inhabited by Christians, most of them Genoese." He further stated, "We went down to its port, where we saw a wonderful harbor with about two hundred vessels in it, both ships of war and trading vessels, small and large, for it is one of the world's celebrated ports."
In early 1318 Pope John XXII established a Latin Church diocese of Kaffa, as a suffragan of Genoa. The papal bull of appointment of the first bishop attributed to him a vast territory: "a villa de Varna in Bulgaria usque Sarey inclusive in longitudinem et a mari Pontico usque ad terram Ruthenorum in latitudinem" ("from the city of Varna in Bulgaria to Sarey inclusive in longitude, and from the Black Sea to the land of the Ruthenians in latitude"). The first bishop was Fra' Gerolamo, who had already been consecrated seven years before as a missionary bishop ad partes Tartarorum. The diocese ended as a residential bishopric with the capture of the city by the Ottomans in 1475. Accordingly, Kaffa is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
It is believed that the devastating pandemic of the Black Death entered Europe for the first time via Kaffa in 1347, through the movements of the Golden Horde. After a protracted siege during which the Mongol army under Janibeg was reportedly withering from the disease, they catapulted the infected corpses over the city walls, infecting the inhabitants, in one of the first cases of biological warfare. Fleeing inhabitants may have carried the disease back to Italy, causing its spread across Europe. However, the plague appears to have spread in a stepwise fashion, taking over a year to reach Europe from Crimea. Also, there were a number of Crimean ports under Mongol control, so it is unlikely that Kaffa was the only source of plague-infested ships heading to Europe. Additionally, there were overland caravan routes from the East that would have been carrying the disease into Europe as well.
Kaffa eventually recovered. The thriving, culturally diverse city and its thronged slave market have been described by the Spanish traveler Pedro Tafur, who was there in the 1430s. In 1462 Caffa placed itself under the protection of King Casimir IV of Poland. However, Poland did not offer significant help due to reinforcements sent being massacred in Bar fortress (modern day Ukraine) by Duke Czartoryski after a quarrel with locals.
Following the fall of Constantinople, Amasra, and lastly Trebizond, the position of Caffa had become untenable and attracted the attention of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. He was at no loss for a pretext to extinguish this last Genoese colony on the Black Sea. In 1473, the tudun (or governor) of the Crimean Khanate died and a fight developed over the appointment of his successor. The Genoese involved themselves in the dispute, and the Tatar notables who favored the losing candidate finally asked Mehmed to settle the dispute. Mehmed dispatched a fleet under the Ottoman commander Gedik Ahmet Pasha, which left Constantinople 19 May 1475. It anchored before the walls of the city on 1 June, started the bombardment the next day, and on 6 June the inhabitants capitulated. Over the next few days the Ottomans proceeded to extract the wealth of the inhabitants, and abduct 1,500 youths for service in the Sultan's palace.[unbalanced opinion?] On 8 July the final blow was struck when all inhabitants of Latin origin were ordered to relocate to Istanbul, where they founded a quarter (Kefeli Mahalle) which was named after the town they had been forced to leave. Renamed Kefe, Caffa became one of the most important Turkish ports on the Black Sea.
In 1615 Zaporozhian Cossacks under the leadership of Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny destroyed the Turkish fleet and captured Caffa. Having conquered the city, the Cossacks released the men, women and children who were slaves.
Ottoman control ceased when the expanding Russian Empire took over Crimea between 1774 and 1783. It was renamed Feodosiya (Ѳеодосія, reformed spelling: Феодосия), after the traditional Russian reading of its ancient Greek name. In 1900 Zibold constructed the first air well (dew condenser) on mount Tepe-Oba near Feodosiya.
WWII and Holocaust
The city was occupied by the forces of Nazi Germany during World War II, sustaining significant damage in the process. The Jewish population numbering 3,248 before the German occupation was murdered by SD-Einsatzgruppe D between November 16 and December 15, 1941. A witness interviewed by the Soviet Extraordinary Commission in 1944 and quoted on the website of the French organization Yahad-In Unum described how the Jews were rounded-up in the city: "[A]ll the Jews were gathered. The Germans told them they would be displaced somewhere in Ukraine. On December 4, 1941, in the morning, all the Jews, including my father, my mother and my sister were taken to an anti-tank trench where they were executed by German shooters. 1,500-1,700 people were shot that day." A monument commemorating the Holocaust victims is situated at the crossroads of Kerchensky and Symferopolsky highways. On Passover eve, April 7, 2012, unknown persons desecrated, for the sixth time, the monument, allegedly as an anti-Semitic act.
All native Tatar inhabitants were arrested by Soviet forces as several thousand Tatars had fought side-by-side with the Nazis against Soviet forces and had participated in the Jewish genocide. Following Stalin orders, all Tatars were sent to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics of the USSR.
|Climate data for Feodosia (1981–2010, extremes 1881–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.1
|Average high °C (°F)||4.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−25.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||37
|Average rainy days||12||8||10||11||9||7||7||6||9||8||12||12||111|
|Average snowy days||8||8||6||0.3||0.1||0||0||0||0||0.1||2||6||31|
|Average relative humidity (%)||82||80||79||75||71||69||64||64||70||77||81||83||75|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||63||72||129||182||252||283||308||287||246||166||85||51||2,124|
|Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net.|
|Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961−1990)|
Modern Feodosiya is a resort city with a population of about 69,000 people. It has beaches, mineral springs, and mud baths, sanatoria, and rest homes. Apart from tourism, its economy rests on agriculture and fisheries. Local industries include fishing, brewing and canning. As with much of the Crimea, most of its population is ethnically Russian; the Ukrainian language is infrequently used. In June 2006, Feodosiya made the news with the 2006 anti-NATO port riot.
While most beaches in Crimea are made of pebbles, there is a unique Golden Beach (Zolotoy Plyazh) made of small seashells in the Feodosiya area. The Golden Beach stretches for 15 km.
The city is sparsely populated during the winter months. Most cafes and restaurants are closed. Business and tourism increase in mid-June and peak during July and August. Like in the other resort towns in Crimea, the tourists come mostly from the C.I.S. countries of the former Soviet Union. Feodosiya was the city where the seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky lived and worked all his life, and where general Pyotr Kotlyarevsky and the writer Alexander Grin spent their declining years. Popular tourist locations include the Aivazovsky National Art Gallery and the Genoese fortress.
Economy and industry
- More PO (Primorsk)
- Sudokompozit - ship design R&D naval hardware
- Kasatka TsNII Gp NPO Uran (Gagra Pitsunda) - ship design R&D naval hardware
- Gidropribor FeOMMZ, torpedo manufacturing and ship yard (Ordzhonikidze)
- NPO Uran TsNII Gp "Kasatka" (Lab N°5 NII400) torpedoes (Gagra Pitsunda)
- Russia Black Sea Fleet Navy Ship repair Yards
- FOMZ Opto Mechanical Plant FKOZ
- Feodosia Economic Industrial Zone FPZ (west)
- Feodosia FMZ Engineering/Machine-building Plant
- Feodosia FPZ (Priborostroeni Priladobudivni) Instrument-making Plant
Twin towns—sister cities
People from Feodosiya
In popular culture
The late-medieval city of Caffa is the locale in a section of the novel Caprice and Rondo by Dorothy Dunnett.
An early 14th-century bishop of Caffa appears in Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose, making several sharp replies in a long, tempestuous debate within a group of monks and clerics; he is portrayed as aggressive and somewhat narrow-minded.
Ancient Karaites cemetery
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Feodosia.|
|Look up feodosia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- WorldStatesmen- Ukraine
- Ancient Theodosia and its Coinage
- Tourist Theodosius
- The murder of the Jews of Feodosia during World War II, at Yad Vashem website.
- Khvalkov, Evgeny (2017). The Colonies of Genoa in the Black Sea Region: Evolution and Transformation. Routledge Research in Medieval Studies. L, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. p. 444. ISBN 9781138081604. LCCN 2017028228.
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