Gurzuf is a small urban settlement, also it is a famous health resort located on the southern coast of Crimea between Alushta and Yalta. Gurzuf is a former Crimean Tatar village and has its own rich history.
Gurzuf is a part of Big Yalta region and situated at the distance of 18 kilometers long. Gurzuf is a famous place with its natural beaches, green mountains and a warm climate also it’s a nice and an incomparable place to its popularity among vacationers and travelers. However, Gurzuf hadn’t been developing as a resort until the late 18th century. The unique pearl of Gurzuf is mountains and coastal cliffs which protect Gurzuf valley from cold winds and present a trademark of the resort. There are many sanatoriums and hotels in Gurzuf that’s way most of the tourists go to Gurzuf to have a nice resting here.

Being at the Gurzuf’s beach you are able to see many of interests. Those places are the symbols of Gurzuf like a Bear Mountain, children’s center of Artek and Adalar’s stones. A distance from the Simferopol town l is about 80 km.

Population of Gurzuf is up to 12,000 inhabitants.

Gurzuf is very often associated with the names of the famous Russian poets like Alexander Pushkin and Anton Chehov, Korovin and others. There are some museums in Gurzuf: Pushkin’s museum and Chehov’s museum. Both of these poets lived in Gurzuf on 19th century.

Adalars rocks is one of the many symbols of Gurzuf. These two Adalars rocks is a romantic symbol of the settlement. They are located in a picturesque location in front of Artek at a distance of 200 — 300 meters from the shore. Near the rock has depth at the base about 14 meters, and distant — up to 38 meters. Rocks Adalars are two islands with a diameter of 20-30 m. The distance between them about 40 m. The channel between the rocks and the shore about 200 m.
The day in the Artek 1939

Artek is an international children center (a former Young Pioneer camp) near Gurzuf. It was established on June 16, 1925 on the Black Sea in the town of Gurzuf located on the Crimean peninsula, near Bear mountain of Crimea.
By the warm Black sea, 1940

International Children Center of Artek covers an area of 208 hectares of which 102 hectares are parks. Coastline with children’s beach stretches for seven miles.

Nowadays Artek is the state property of Russia, and the business card of children`s and youth activity Pushkin grotto is a famous place located near Gurzuf. It is a well — known place and also is one of the many symbols of Crimea.

Pushkin grotto lies between the children’s center of Artek and Gurzuf settle-ment. Adalars rocks is situated opposite of the Pushkin grotto. Most of the tourists go to Gurzuf to see this pearl of Crimea.


Photos of Gurzuf is from here . 1 .
Photos of Gurzuf is from here . 2 .

ICC Artek. Yesterday and Today. — video in english

The First Years of Artek. How It All Began.

It was a still autumn evening of 1924. Zinoviy Petrovich Solovyov, the Chairman of Central Committee of Russian Red Cross Society, who came hereinto from Moscow, was walking near the foot of Ayu-Dag Mountain. He felt relaxed while admiring the landscape and inhaling healing air of mountains and sea but all his thoughts were far away.

He was passed about the idea how to improve children’s health within the shortest possible time, especially those who suffered during the imperialistic war and civil war, and the years of the after-war ruins. He dreamt to create such institutions “where the doctors would deal not only with a particular child but also with organized children’s collectivity.” Solovyov wanted to arrange a sanatorium camp, “a health -improving camp”.

 Solovyov travelled about lots of places at the seaside, he visited Koktebel, Feodosiya, Sudak, estimated the surrounding here and there but could not choose a proper place. But when having his vacation in Gurzuf branch of Crimean Military Resort Station (now it is sanatorium “Gurzufskiy”) Solovyov walked around Artek area and only that place met all his requirements.

Solovyov was very glad that the camp territory could be extended after a while, and the camp could spread to a real Pioneer land. The location for the camp was chosen in the best way possible.

The person for the camp organizing was also chosen perfectly. Fyodor Fyodorovich Shishmaryov, who was in that time managing a children sanatorium in Ai-Danil, was charged to open the sanatorium camp by the beginning of 1925. Fyodor Shishmaryov played a significant role in the life of Artek. He had devoted eight years of his life to this institution while working as Chief Physician. A distinguished organizer and excellent doctor, he was the right-hand of Zinoviy Solovyov in orginizing treatment and leisure activities of children.

 On June 16, 1925 a picturesque bay, where peace and quiet are watched by ancient Ayu-Dag, was filled up with children’s voices, and then the flag was raised here to the sounds of pioneer horn – the first session started in the sanatorium camp of the Red Cross Society of Russian Soviet Federated Socialistic Republic in Artek.


The first 80 Artek campers were accommodated in four canvas sheet tents just by the sea. In four summer sessions of the first year Artek hosted 320 kids.

The children were accommodated in high-ceilinged and light tents with wooden floor. These tents were equipped by very plain wooden beds covered with tent cloth, wooden stools and rough bedstands, but everything was kept in very good order. The hospital pavilion was arranged in the best tent being located in a good distance from the camp.

 The eating area equipped with six dining tables and benches was arranged under the sun awning. The tables were made of rough planks but they were covered with snow-white tablecloths, and each pioneer had a table napkin with a ring.


There was a library-club in the best room of ‘Potemkin house’. The collections made by the kids as well as tools and materials for hand works were also kept in this room.

Just by the sea where now we can see a fire squire with an amphitheater for the guests, there was a sports ground. In the first years also the Artek fires were lighted here.

 In summer 1925 Clara Zetkin visited the camp, and later she wrote “Do you want to see free and happy children? Just visit the summer camp organized by the Red Cross in Artek…”


After that foreign guests began visiting and studying…In the twentieth of the last century children and adults from Germany, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, France, and Sweden holidayed in the camp.

The full-time position of the camp counselor was introduced in Artek on July 24, 1927. The teaching staff gave classes on local history and natural science, arranged excursions, taught the kids how to collect plants for herbarium, gave lectures, and held discussions. Two or three hours a day were given to the educational activities. For obligatory labour children cleaned the park and the beach, and also helped the neighbouring agricultural farming community. They brought in hay and harvested grapes and fruits.

 There were not so many excursions during that period. It was a hard task, because “Artek” had no transport, and children were often delivered from Sevastopol by horsed droshkies (carriages).

The campers had few excursions at that time. It was quite a problem as there were no vehicles in Artek and quite often it was so that the kids were taken from Sevastopol by a horse wagon.

Over the first years it became clear that permanent buildings should be constructed instead of the tents, which had fallen short of expectation. It was too hot in the afternoon when the children had their rest and too cold at night in these tents. And once at night the lighting storm broke suddenly, the tents were destroyed after that and the children were scared, and this was one more reason for new buildings.

In 1928 Zinoviy Petrovich posed a question on reorganization of the camp to a regular sanatorium camp, which would function all the year round.

That year the campers were housed in new-built blocks instead of the tents.

The Thirties. The Camp of International Support and Friendship.

In 1930 Artek celebrated its fifth birthday by opening of one more camp. Now Artek consisted of Nizhniy (“Lower”) and Verkhniy (“Upper”) camps. The number of the campers in a session rose then from 80 to 200, and up to 2040 kids in a year.

  1932. Children’s technician training workshop and Museum of Artek were arranged in the camp.

In 1934 the Head of the Soviet government, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, visited Artek for the first time.

In 1936 the government took a decision on transfer of the nearby located vacation house of All-Russian Central Executive Committee of USSR ”Suuk-Su” to Artek, and this enlarged the territory of the camp greatly.

 Artek is very responsive to all world events: in 1937 the camp hosted the kids from the occupied Spain for the whole summer.

In summer 1939 Arkady Gaidar holidayed in Artek together with his son Timur. In company with the Artek campers the writer used to climb Ayu-Dag Mountain. Here he came up to write his famous story “Military Secret”.

 Artek was well known not only in the Soviet Union but also far beyond its borders. In each camp, Verkhniy, Nizhniy, 15th Datscha, they had their own activities and beings: Pioneer parade, camp flag, head counselor, opening and close of the sessions.

The kids learn to row, to swim, to take photos, and to ride bikes, they learn Morse alphabet and create herbarium, make airplane samples…

The campers have a lot of time for amusements and entertainments. Each Pioneer unit, in addition to its unit’s work, undertakes one of the camp events – contest for the best unit’s poster, chess competition, military game, creative event, sports competition…

  The life of the Artek campers is full of variety, one day does not look like another, and an everyday record in the unit’s dairy is usually something like this, “We had fun today, as usual” or “This day was even more interesting”.

Artek of War Time. The Rebirth.

 1941. The Great Patriotic War began when the children had just arrived to Artek. Next day the Artek campers sent a telegram to Moscow: “Having holiday in sunny Artek we are ready to defend the Motherland at any time”. Later this session was called being the longest one in the history of the camp as it lasted three and a half years. Two hundred children from the western regions and republics of the Soviet Union (which had been already occupied by the Nazis) together with their counselors, the doctor and the camp director, were evacuated well to the rear, to Belokurikha, a resort village in Altai. Even in that place the kids and adults followed the Artek’s rules, they supported the families of the soldiers, cared for wounded soldiers in the hospitals, collected scrap metals for construction of aircraft and military tanks.

Artek was occupied. On April 15, 1944 the force of the Separate Coastal Army liberated Artek. The camp lay in ruins.

 Despite postwar hard time there were started reconstruction works and in three months, on August 6, 1944 the camp welcomed 500 kids from Crimea.

In the anniversary session in 1945 Artek hosted 1200 kids. On September 13, the newspapers and radio announced that because of its twentieth anniversary All-Soviet Union Sanatorium Pioneer Camp Artek named after V. M. Molotov was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour for its prominent services to the cause of education of Young Pioneers and schoolchildren.

 The children’s camp Kiparisny (cypress) appeared on the map of Artek in 1945, earlier it was vacation house “Kolkhoznaya Molodyozh” (Collective farm Youth).
 Before the war the Artek campers rendered assistance to everybody, now, in this hard time the campers were supported from everywhere. Thus, in spring 1945 Clementine Churchill, the wife of the British Prime Minister visited Artek and brought 15 tents, and that was the base of the postwar camp.

In summer 1947, for the first time after the war Artek welcomed children from Czechoslovakia and Poland. The kids wrote then, “We will always remember our visit to Crimea. We met only good people here. We were impressed by the nature with its amenities. And we did not believe that all this could belong to children. We say thank to the kids for their hospitality, for the sea, for the sun, for friendship, and for the songs we’ve learnt here.” The Artek campers together with their international guests built a fire dedicated to the friendship of Slavic peoples. The young Czechs and Poles accepted presents from their Artek’s friends, who also gave them small pieces of coal from the Artek’s festive fire.

The Fifties. We Say Welcome to All Flags!

More and more foreign delegations from Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, China, Mongolia, Korea, Poland, Romania, Vietnam, France, Finland, England, Norway, Luxemburg, West Germany, Belgium, Albania, Sweden, and Denmark came to Artek.

Famous politicians, celebrities, and outstanding sportsmen from all over the world visited Artek. The camp welcomed the Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru with his daughter Indira Gandhi (who later would take up the post of the Prime minister of India too), Ho Chi Minh, the first president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and many others.

Famous politicians, celebrities, and outstanding sportsmen from all over the world visited Artek. The camp welcomed the Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru with his daughter Indira Gandhi (who later would take up the post of the Prime minister of India too), Ho Chi Minh, the first president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and many others.

The Feast of Friendship appeared in the camp program. The event was usually held on the greens of the park of “Verkhniy” camp (now it is Gorny Park); there were amusement facilities and variety of contest-related activities in the territory of the park, and there also was arranged a Room for International Friendship where the kids could write and send letters using Artek’s postcards and exchange their addresses.

The kids from Bulgaria, German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Sweden gladly participated in the construction of the stadium in “Nizhniy” camp (now it is “Morskoy” camp).

Postwar Artek came back to life and it was ready again to help children from all over the world.

For example, the Young Pioneers from Belgium were sad when leaving Artek as according to the kids, they didn’t have possibilities to take sports in their country because they didn’t have sports grounds and equipment. Artek was the only place where the children could play as much as they wanted to… The Pioneers of the fourth session of 1959 got to know this and decided to help the kids from Belgium. The Council of the sport club “Olympia” proposed to share the sports equipment with the Belgian Pioneers. But the Artek campers had an alternative proposition. “Let’s work as good as we can, and when we earn enough money we buy the necessary sports equipment and send it to our Belgian friends.” It was approved and then the Council of “Olympia” established a Friendship Moneybox. The campers participated in construction works, worked in parks and vineyards, made sun loungers, repaired furniture and clothes. And thus there were more than 5,000 Soviet rubles in the Friendship Moneybox. For this money the kids bought new sports equipment in Simferopol and then the huge package was sent to Belgium.

The Sixties. International Sessions.

Now the kids from abroad could spend their holiday in Artek year-round, and moreover an international session is held every year.

Its own traditions and customs appeared in the camp: relays of friendship, national days, international Sundays, Continental Cup on sport games, evenings of national games and dances, amusement days, interest meetings, and many other exciting and fun activities.

 A Day of Peace became a regular event. Usually in the morning the Young Pioneers raised the Blue Banners of Peace and participated in the celebration parade. Then the powerboats with the Mails of Peace put off from the quays of “Morskoy” to international waters. And the representatives of foreign delegations threw into the sea dozens of bottles with messages to the children of all continents.
 It became a tradition to write an application or a declaration to an international public organization, for example the World Peace Council.


 Here is one of such applications of 1962:

“Children from all the countries and continents! We are your age-mates and the delegates of the Young Pioneers’ Meeting of the Soviet Union, the ambassadors of Pioneer and children’s organizations of Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Guinea, German Democratic Republic, Denmark, West Berlin, Cyprus, Mali, Norway, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, and France, and we apply to you.

We live far away from each other, we speak different languages but we all appreciate peace. Peace is life! War is death! We hate and damn the war. We don’t want nuclear and hydrogen bombs go off and we don’t want our fathers to be killed and our mothers to cry. We don’t want to die. We need peace, clear sky and shining sun… And we repeat all together after the participants of the World Congress for General Disarmament, “No to war! Let there be peace! Let there always be sunshine, let there always be happiness, let there always be peace!”

The Meeting of the School Sanitation Promotion Activists with the representatives of the Youth Red Cross Society of Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Finland, and Czechoslovakia was traditionally held in Artek.

 The International Children’s Sport Games “Friendship” participated by young athletes from many countries were introduced as a regular sports event.
The All-Union Pioneers’ Meetings participated by numerous foreign delegations and distinguished international guests, the Prime Minister of Iran Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Chad François Tombalbaye, famous American astronaut Francis Borman, who took a flight to the Moon within Apollo-8 crew in December 1968, took place during these years.

The camp responds to all world events and happenings.

 The Seventies. Let There Always Be Sunshine!

The main problem of the world is now discussed in Artek, this is how to keep peace on the Earth. One of the major roles in the problem solving is given to children’s organizations and their role in cultivating in children the appreciation of friendship, piece and solidarity.

 During the seventies the conference “Multi-coloured neck-scarves at a round table” had been participated by 39 up to 103 representatives of foreign children’s and youth organizations. Michael Jouett, the General Secretary of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, Andronakis Christodoulou, the General Secretary of the United Democratic Youth Organization of Cyprus and many others delivered their reports at this conference.


The main event of the international life of Artek in these years is International Children’s Festival “Let There Always Be Sunshine!” (1977), which was an introduction to the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students held on Cuba. The Festival was arranged to be started in Moscow and its continuation and final should take place in Artek.

It was a never-before-seen International children’s movement. About 1500 kids and 500 special guests representing 158 International, Regional and National Children’s and Youth Organizations arrived to Artek.

To create the spirit of unity, solidarity and friendship there was thought out every detail of the program up to arrival procedure to Artek. According to recollections of V. Kryuchkov, a journalist who covered the events of the festival, at first all the delegates gathered in Moscow (in that time the capital of the Soviet Union), then they were presented with a metaphorical key to Artek and went by a special express train of friendship to the camp.

“The train was representing the whole globe: one compartment was for Austria, another one for Hungary, another one for Vietnam”. All this were educational tips with the meaning that Artek was open and was waiting for everybody, and every nation had the same rights and opportunities. Everything had been done to make every day of the festival for a holiday, a day of unity, and to impress both children and adults.

During these days such clubs as “Natural Scientist”, “Breeze”, “Collector”, “Humanity”, “Chess and Draughts”. “Symbol”, “Game”, “Do-it -yourself”, and “Screen” are functioning in Artek. The kids could show here their skills and abilities, and share their experience.

A regular conference for the leaders of children’s and youth organizations “For a Happy Childhood in a Peaceful World” took place during the festival.

 A lot of celebrities of that time participated in the festival: an American pediatrician, pedagogue and social activist Benjamin Spock, a French writer Pierre Gamarra, a winner of International Lenin Peace Prize Mirjam Vire-Tuominen (Finland), deputy director of UN Information Center in USSR Paulina Weber, WFDY vice-president Hashim Ibrahim, SIMEA Secretary General Tadi Alfoeldi, a famous public figure of Chilean youth movement Gladys Marin and many others.

The Festival impressed all its participants greatly. Eric McCassy, a member of Children’s Section to the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship said, “In Artek they mast not ordinary flags but those made of multi-coloured neck-scarves. The fires of solidarity are made not with a lighter or a match but with the sun. The metaphorical key presented to the participants in Moscow has visited all the camps of Artek. Sea bottle mail known from the very ancient times is of great popularity here. Nowadays we have communication satellites and telegraph cables all over the world and the sea bottle mail might be taken for a naive idea, but for me personally it would be nice to imagine that somewhere in the sea there is my bottle with MY MESSAGE. And now I try to guess who would pull it out from the sea… A sailor-man? A tourist? A fisherman?

 We showed our messages to each other, there were no secrets there. Most of the messages had the same. An Australian girl May Mitchell wrote, “The world is a very large and nice place, but a nuclear war could destroy it. Peace and friendship are the most important for us, the children. There could not be peace without friendship and there could not be friendship without peace”.

I made sure Artek is cultivating peace fighters. This is proved by the fires made with the sun, by flames of solidarity, and banners of multi-coloured neck-scarves. I have no ideas how long I’ll be waiting but I am sure once to get a telegram, “Eric, we’ve got your message”.

 The Eighties. Samantha Reed Smith.

The life of Artek is full of events in these years. International sessions and relay races are held here, folk music groups come to the camp from 67 countries, and high ranking and well-known foreign guests are welcomed in Artek. And among all these activities there took place one more very exciting event, which impressed lots of people of that time. In summer 1983 a schoolgirl from American Maine, a young Goodwill Ambassador Samantha Reed Smith visited Artek.

Once on a Time Magazine cover Samantha saw a picture of the USA President Reagan and the new Soviet Leader Andropov awarded as Men of the Year. One of the articles in the magazine stated the new USSR Leader to be quite a dangerous person, and the Soviet Union under his leadership to be more than ever endangering the security of the USA. Samantha asked her mother, “If people are so afraid of Andropov, why doesn’t someone write him a letter asking whether he wants to have a war or not?” Her mother replied, “Why don’t you?” And Samantha did.

On April 26, 1983 Samantha got a letter from Andropov, in which he assured the girl in peacekeeping intention of the USSR and invited her to visit the Soviet Union and Artek. Samantha and her parents set out to the USSR on July 7, 1983. The Smiths spent 2 weeks in the country and for this period of time they had visited Moscow, Leningrad (now it is St. Petersburg), and Artek.

 On July 9 a group of Artek campers welcomed Samantha in Simferopol. She shared a room with girl-campers in one of the pavilions of the Morskoy Camp, dressed Artek’s uniform and did like being an Artek camper. Samantha liked the camp from the very beginning. She was impressed by everything and she participated in all activities of the campers. “My stay in “Artek”, she said when leaving the camp, “was very good! I think we’ll remain friends even across the ocean. In some time I want to come back to Artek. I love you, Artek!”
Maine, a young Goodwill Ambassador Samantha Reed Smith visited Artek.
 Once on a Time Magazine cover Samantha saw a picture of the USA President Reagan and the new Soviet Leader Andropov awarded as Men of the Year. One of the articles in the magazine stated the new USSR Leader to be quite a dangerous person, and the Soviet Union under his leadership to be more than ever endangering the security of the USA. Samantha asked her mother, “If people are so afraid of Andropov, why doesn’t someone write him a letter asking whether he wants to have a war or not?” Her mother replied, “Why don’t you?” And Samantha did.

On April 26, 1983 Samantha got a letter from Andropov, in which he assured the girl in peacekeeping intention of the USSR and invited her to visit the Soviet Union and Artek. Samantha and her parents set out to the USSR on July 7, 1983. The Smiths spent 2 weeks in the country and for this period of time they had visited Moscow, Leningrad (now it is St. Petersburg), and Artek.

 The mass media of the USSR, the USA and the entire world watched her every move and every word. And when leaving the Soviet Union on July 22 Samantha gave a smile to the TV cameras and cried in Russian “We will live!”


She never came back to Artek as she wanted to. Samantha Smith was killed in an air plane crash on August 25, 1985.
 An alley for Samantha Smith was established and a memorial granite pylon with an inscription “Samantha Smith Alley” was erected in Artek on July 4, 1986.


Thanks to Samantha Smith Artek gained popularity in the USA. They carried out a contest “Why do I want to visit Artek?” In July 1988 more than 100 schoolchildren, the winners of the contest from 20 states of the USA, participated in the international session in Artek. Also representatives of American organization “Peace Child” headed by its leader Phillip Wiseman visited the camp. After that American businessmen took interest on Artek and in 1989 they signed a protocol of intention to build a new round-year camp in the territory of one of the existing camps of Artek.


The Nineties. The New Status of Artek.

The nineties were very hard time. The changes in the country made a great impact on the camp. In June 1991 Artek turned into an International Children’s Center and began to find new ways in economic area. The international activities got new trends. An exchange program with the USA schools was a successful deal. This was the first experience for Artek in crossing the borders in education area. In 1996 the program transformed into International contest for teachers and after this Artek for seven years turned into educational Mecca for teachers-innovators from 13 countries of the world. In 1998 after considering the results of the All-Russian contest for the best projects on international collaboration in the area of education, the contest in Artek was given the first place and UNESCO declared it the Project of the 21st Century.

International Children’s Film Festival “Artek” (since 1993), International Aero-Space Festival “Suziria-Artek” (since 1994), International Contest-Festival on Children’s and Youth’s Amateur Art “Ukraine Is Our Land”, International Children’s Choral Contest-Festival named after G.Struve “Artek’s Stars” (since 1998) appeared in Artek during these years and are carried out up to now.

In June 1995 Artek became a member of International Camping Fellowship (ICM).