Crime'a (Tartar Krym, anciently the Tauric Chersonese), a peninsula of South Russia, between the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, joined to the continent of Russia by the Isthmus of Perekop, 18 1/2 miles long by 5 1/2 miles broad at its narrowest part, a canal through which was undertaken in 1888. The peninsula is 200 miles from east to west, by 125 miles from north to south, with 625 miles of coast-line, and an area of about 10,000 sq. m. Along the Siwash or Putrid Sea on the north, and the Sea of Azov, the coasts are flat and open. To the west of the wide bay of Kaffa or Theodosia the south coast becomes rocky and elevated, and forms a succession of capes and small gulfs. Balaklava, and more especially Sebastopol, have fine harbours. Limestone mountains from Cape Chersonese to Baffa Bay show deep erosion, presenting the ruins of a vast tableland, sloping gently northwards into the steppe, but hanging in abrupt precipices southwards. Chatir Dagh or Tent Mount (anc. Mons Trapezus, ' table mount'), is the highest summit, 5450 feet. In the hilly district about Kertch are thermal and naphtha springs, and mud volcanoes. There are some fifty small rivers and rivulets, and four hundred salt lakes. The climate is healthy, and generally mild, but in winter the steppe is exposed to cold winds, frost, and snowstorms, while the south coast is sheltered and warm. The steppe, though not fertile, yet grazes innumerable herds of cattle, and yields porphyries and various coloured marbles. The northern mountain-slopes are laid out in pastures, thickets, orchards, and gardens watered from the rivers. In the uplands are still magnificent forests of oak, beech, elm, ash, willow, etc. On the southern slopes are famous health-resorts, with Livadia and other imperial residences. Good wine is largely produced, and some exported. Though the Crimea was once famous for its corn, it has suffered greatly from drought, and much good land is now uncultivated. Good coal is mined; an extensive field was opened in 1888. The population numbers about 900,000, of whom most are Tartars, 250,000 Russians, and the rest Greeks, Jews, Bulgarians, Germans, etc. The capital is Simferopol, the old Tartar capital being Bakchiserai. For Englishmen the peninsula's chief interest is in the Crimean War (1854-55), when Britain, France, and Sardinia defeated the Russians, at a cost to the first of 20,656 lives.
See J. B. Telfer, The Crimea and Transcaucasia (1876), and histories of the war by Kinglake (8 vols. 1863-87) and Hamley (1891).