National Geographic : 1945 Apr
Crimea Reborn Akpa Lukina Shoulders Her Grape Basket, Spilling Pale and Red Gold Once again she is on her way to the famed cellars where age the fine red and white vintage wines of the Crimea. Here vineyards of Massandra slope to the sea. Though the countryside was neglected and ravaged, the storage caves happily were spared from destruction by the Nazis. second century before the Christian Era, was called the city of Neapolis, residence of the Scythian king Scilurus. Simferopol proper was founded in the sixteenth century under Tatar domination and was the residence, among other gentlemen of the day, of the chief commander of the Khan's troops, who was second in command in the Khanate. In those days the city was known as Ak mechet, or White Mosque. Its present name was derived from a combination of two Greek words denoting "collective city," one contain ing different nationalities. Simferopol is divided into three sections: the new Russian portion in the north and northwest, on the left bank of the Salgir River, where nearly all the administrative buildings are located; the old Greco-Tatar section in the south and southeast, with its winding lanes and alleys, including a gypsy village; and so-called Newtown on the right bank of the river with its snug, bright, cozy villas. German occupants laid the torch to admin istrative buildings and caused considerable damage, but, compared with many other cities of Russia, Simferopol was less hurt. Russian officers explained this to us by the fact that when the Red Army broke across the Perekop and Sivash the offensive was so swift that the Nazis didn't have time to do a thorough job of destruction in the city. From Simferopol we took a hard-surfaced, narrow road to Alushta on the coast. We bumped down it at alarming speed, and I kept telling my companion how much it reminded me of the road between Monterrey and San Luis Potosi in Mexico. Fruit trees were in bloom on either side of the road. There were mountains in the distance. From the little cottages and huts alongside the road people were waving. There were brooks and flowers. The farther we went, the more the country looked like Mexico. Toward late dusk we saw a rising spot of ground.