Хайтарма - традиционный крымский танецThe population of Crimea, including Sevastopol, is about 2 million. However, for Ukraine such population density is average.

But in August, up to 2 million visitants stay simultaneously on the peninsula, at these periods the whole population number doubles, reaching in certain areas of the coast the density value on the most populated areas of Japan: more than one thousand people per square kilometer.
Presently Russians are the largest portion of the Crimean population, then follow Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars (their number is rapidly growing), significant are the numbers of Byelorussians, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Germans, Bulgarians, Poles, Checks, Italians. Small in number, yet appreciable in the Crimean culture are the Caraites and the Crimeates.
Russian persists as the language of international communication in Crimea.
The ethnic history of Crimea is very tangled and dramatic. The earliest mention of its ancient population — the Cimmerians — can be found in Homerus’ writings, and in the Old Testament. The father of the history Herodotus and other antique writers have left us a detailed description of the inhabitants of steppes — the Scythians (their language is considered to be a member of the Iranian family) and those of mountains — the Tauri (they are presumed to be Indo-Europeans). The mountain and foothill Crimea has the commonly accepted name after Tauri -Tauris.


The epoch of the great transmigration of peoples brought into Crimea the belligerent Goths who subjugated almost the whole Europe and then dissolved in its spaces as early as in the beginning of the Middle Ages. In Crimea, Goths’ settlements remained until the 15th century.

Only with the spread of Islam, they blended with Crimean Tatars. The last reminder of Goths is the Kokkoz («Blue Eyes») village, now named Sokolinoye.
Crimean Tatars Crimean Tatars (sg. Qırımtatar, pl. Qırımtatarlar) or Crimeans (sg. Qırım, Qırımlı, pl. Qırımlar, Qırımlılar) are a Turkic ethnic group originally residing in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language. They are not to be confused with the Volga Tatars.
The Crimean Tatars are descendants of a mix of Turkic (Bulgars, Khazars, Huns, Avars and Cumans) and non-Turkic (Alans, Slavs, Romanians, Byzantine Greeks, Crimean Goths, Circassians) ethnic groups, as well as some Veneto and Genoa, who lived, settled (colonised) or were even brought as slaves by the Tatars themselves, in the Crimean peninsula and the adjacent areas north of the Black Sea (the Pontic-Caspian steppe).
The Crimean Tatars are subdivided into three sub-ethnic groups:
the Tats (not to be confused with Tat people, living in Caucasus region) who used to inhabit the mountainous Crimea before 1944 (about 55%),
The Yalıboyu who lived on the southern coast of the peninsula (about 30%),
The Noğay (no to be confused with Nogai people, living now in Southern Russia) — former inhabitants of the Crimean steppe (about 15%).
The Tats and Yalıboyus have a Caucasoid physical appearance, while the Noğays retain some Mongoloid appearance.
In modern times, in addition to living in Crimea, Ukraine, there is a large diaspora of Crimean Tatars in Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Western Europe, Middle East and North America, as well as small communities in Finland, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Brazil.

The Karaites, a fragment of the Khazar Kahanate, are small in number. They have an original and bright history. You can be acquainted with it in the cave town of Chufut-Kaleh (the name means «Judaic Fortress,» Karaitism is a confession close to Judaism). The Karaite language belongs to the Kypchak subgroup of the Turkic languages, but Karaites’ mode of life is close to that of Jews. Besides our territory, Karaites live in Lithuania; there they are descendants of the personal guards of Lithuanian Princes, and also in the western part of Ukraine.

The Crimeates are one of the historical peoples of Crimea too; they are Judaist as for their confession and Turkic as for their language. This people suffered genocide during the Nazi occupation.

The Jewish population of Crimea underwent severe ordeals in the war years and suffered enormous losses. Judaic merchants appeared in Crimea in the first century AD, their burials in Pantikapeus (presently Kerch) date to that time. There are 4,5 thousand Jews in Crimea now and they play a noticeable role.

The first communities of Russians appeared in Sudak, Feodosiya and Kerch in the Middle Ages. They were merchants and handicraftsmen. The mass resettlement of serf peasants from the central Russia began in 1783, after joining of Crimea to Russia. Disabled veterans and Cossacks were given lands for free settlement. The inflow of Russians was also evoked by construction of a railway at the end of the 19th century and the development of industry.
In the Soviet times, retired army officers and ‘ people who had worked in the Northern Crimea had the privelage to settle down in Crimea, therefore in the Crimean cities there are many retirees. 70 percent of population are Russians.

The Ukrainians in the pre-war population censuses were not registered separately from
Russians, but in the censuses of the late 19th century they took the third or forth place. Ukraine has had close ties with the peninsula since the time of the Crimean Khanate; Ukrainian strings of carts used to carry salt, fish etc. from Crimea to Ukraine; mutual trade in peaceful times and equally mutual raids in the war times — all that promoted moving and intermixing of people, though, certainly, the main stream of Ukrainian settlers came to Crimea only in the end of the 18th century, reaching its maximum in the 50s of the 20th century. Now Ukrainians contain 10-15 per cent of Crimean population.

The Germans, including emigrants from Switzerland, settled in Crimea under Catherine II and were occupied mainly with agriculture. In Simferopol, the buildings of the Lutheran Church and its school remain, constructed with use of individual donations. In the Soviet time, German colonists formed several collective farms which were famous for high agricultural and, in particular, cattle-breeding standards. In August 1941, Germans were taken to the Northern Kazakhstan and their villages in Crimea were never restored.

The Bulgarians came to the peninsula, as well as Greeks, from the islands of the Aegean Sea, escaping from the Turkish enslavement in the years of wars, within the last quarter of the 18th century. They were Bulgarians who brought the Kazanlyk rose onto the peninsula, and now Crimea is the world-leading producer of rose oil, using now the rose kinds of local selection.

The Poles and Lithuanians came to Crimea after the routs of their national liberation revolts in 18th-19th centuries, as the exiled. Now the number of Poles, including the descendents of those who came later, is about four thousand.

The Greeks have played a tremendous role in the history of Crimea. They appeared here in antiquity and set colonies on the Kerch Peninsula, in the southwestern Crimea, in Evpatoria’s area. Then some waves of Modern Greek emigration followed. The number of the Greek population on the peninsula varied in different epochs. In 1897, there were 17 thousand Greeks, in 1939 — 20.6 thousand.

The Armenians have a long-standing history in Crimea. In the Middle Ages they, together with the Greeks of Asia Minor who left their Motherland under the Turks’ rush, were the main population of the southwestern Crimea, and also cities in the eastern Crimea. However, their descendents live now in the Azov coastal area.

In 1778, 31 thousand Christians (Greeks, Armenians and others), guarded by Russian troops, left the Crimean Khanate and founded new towns and villages on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov.

However, the monuments of the Armenian architecture — Surb-Khach Monastery near Stary Krym, a church in Yalta, many monuments in Feodosiya and others remain. The Armenian stone-cutting craft has noticeably influenced the architecture of mosques, mausoleums, and palaces of the Crimean Khanate.
After apposition of Crimea to Russia, the Armenians lived mostly in the eastern Crimea. There are about 9 thousand Armenians in Crimea.

In Sudak, Feodosiya and Kerch, until the time of the revolution, interesting fragments of the medieval epoque remained — the communities of the Crimean Genoese, descendents of those seafarers, merchants and soldiers of the Italian Genoa who dominated at the time in the Mediterranean, Black and Azov seas and whose towers in Feodosiya, Alushta, Gurzuf and fortresses in Balaklava and Sudak remain now. These ruins are so romantic and picturesque, and unapproachable, and — the main thing — genuine.

Quite often at the market places of Crimea you can see Koreans. They have appeared in Crimea just recently, within the last 40 years, but Korean pungent appetizers are now common.

In the markets there are ever more vegetables and fruits grown by Crimean Tatars who are now reviving their glory of the gardeners, truck farmers and herders of the peninsula.
In 1967, the wartime accusation of the Crimean Tatars was removed, but they were allowed to settle on the fathers’ land later, when the «perestroika» was initiated.