Feodosiya is to eastern Crimea what Yalta is to the peninsula's west - the good-time resort with a central location and convenient transport routes around which much else revolves. Founded by ancient Greeks, it was given the name Kaffa by the time Genoese merchants purchased it from the Mongols in the 13th century. The Crimean Khanate rebranded it as Kefe after wresting this strategic east-west trading port back from the "interfering" Italians in the 15th century.
As Kefe, the city spent two centuries as the Black Sea's largest slave-trading centre. Today, anointed with the Russified version of its ancient Greek name (Theodosiya) it is more fondly remembered as the birthplace of leading seascape artist Ivan Ayvazovsky. His works are often compared to British master JMW Turner's and fill the town's leading museum.
In the small central park just south of the train station, stop to admire the statue of Alexander Pushkin, which emphasises what statues in northern Russian cities often forget - the lauded poet's African heritage. A little further south you'll come to the charmingly oriental Ayvazovsky Fountain, designed and funded by the eponymous painter during the 1887 drought.
Continue in the same direction and you'll arrive at the 14th century Armenian Sergiya Church and the adjoining Tomb of Ayvazovsky (1817-1900). The painter spent most of his life in Feodosiya, but was of Armenian descent. Feodosiya's Genoese citadel is outshone by the one in Sudak.
No visit to Feodosiya is complete without also strolling north of the train station, among the chaotic seaside stalls.
The Ayvazovsky Museum demonstrates why the local-boy-made-good is so revered, with hundreds of his paintings of breaking waves and ships. His luminescent skies draw parallels with England's Turner (who became an Ayvazovsky fan), while his moody seas are reminiscent of Germany's Caspar David Friedrich.
Another 20-minute walk north, past elegant mansions stands the Ottoman-style Dacha Stamboli. Once home to a wealthy tobacco merchant, the building's exterior is a trifle weather-beaten, but it's ornate restored interior is one of Crimea's best.
Ivan Konstantinovich Ayvazovski (1817-1900) -
artist-marinist, an inspired singer of sea element, author of about 6
thousand pictures, which decorate many museums of the world.
Armenian on a nationality, he was born and lived
the large part of his life in Feodosia. A building of gallery,
constructed by artist in 1845, - one of the oldest in a city, an
exhibition hall. to it was added later.
On marble panel on a wall of a building was shown
the will: "My sincere will, that building of my picture gallery in a
city Feodosia with all in it - pictures, statues and other works of art,
located in this gallery, made a absolute property of a city Feodosia,
and, in memory of me, Ayvazovski, I leave (gallery) to city Feodosia, my
native city, by will".
Besides pictures of the academician of painting
I.K.Ayvazovski (there about 400 of them in gallery), in a hall there is a
collection of pictures by K.F.Bogayevski, M.A.Voloshin, L.F.Lagorio,
M.P.Latri, A.I.Fessler, A.I.Kuinji and of other artists.
Before a building of gallery, on the part of
the sea, there is a monument for artist (sculptor - M.Y.Ginzburg). There
is an inscription on low pedestal: " From FeodosiР - to Ayvazovski".