Simferopol (English pronunciation: /ˌsɪmfəˈroʊpəl/; Ukrainian: Сімферополь; Russian: Симферополь; Greek: Συμφερόπολις, meaning city of common good; Crimean Tatar: Aqmescit, literally: The white mosque) is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in southern Ukraine. As the capital of Crimea, Simferopol is an important political, economic, and transport center of the peninsula. As of 2006, the city's population is 340,600.
Archaeological evidence in Simferopol indicates the existence of an ancient Scythian city, collectively known as the Scythian Neapol. The location was also home to a Crimean Tatar town, Aqmescit. After the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire, the city's name was changed to its present Simferopol.
Early history Archaeological evidence in the Chokurcha cave shows the presence of ancient people living in the territory of modern Simferopol. The Scythian Neapol, known by its Greek name, is also located in the city, which is the remnants of an ancient capital of the Crimean Scythians who lived on the territory from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD.
Later, the Crimean Tatars founded the town of Aqmescit. The name Aqmescit literally translates as "the white mosque" (Aq—white, and mescit—mosque). For some time, Aqmescit served as the residence of the Qalğa-Sultan, the second important position in the Crimean Khanate after the Khan himself.
Russian Empire and Civil War The city was renamed Simferopol in 1784 after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire by Catherine II of Russia. The name Simferopol is derived from the Greek, Συμφερόπολις (Sympheropolis), translated as "the city of usefulness." In 1802, Simferopol became the administrative center of the Taurida Governorate. During the Crimean War of 1854-1856, the Russian Imperial Army reserves and a hospital were stationed in the city. After the war, more than 30,000 Russian soldiers were buried in the city's vicinity.
In the 20th century, Simferopol was once again was affected by wars and conflicts in the region. At the end of the Russian Civil War, the headquarters of General Pyotr Wrangel, leader of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, were located there. On November 13, 1920, the Red Army captured the city and on October 18, 1921, Simferopol became the capital of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
World War II During World War II, Metropolitan was occupied by Nazi Germany from November 1, 1941 to April 13, 1944. Retreating NKVD police shot a number of prisoners on October 31, 1941 in the NKVD building and the city's prison. Germans perpetrated one of the largest war-time massacres in Simferopol, killing in total over 22,000 locals—mostly Russians, Jews, Krymchaks, and Gypsies. On one occasion, starting December 9, 1941, the Einsatzgruppen D under Otto Ohlendorf's command killed an estimated 14,300 Simferopol residents. The city was renamed as "Gotenburg" between 1941-1944.
In April 1944, the Red Army liberated Simferopol. On May 18, 1944, the Crimean Tatar population of the city along with the whole Crimean Tatar nation of Crimea was forcibly deported to Central Asia in a form of collective punishment. On April 26, 1954, Simferopol, together with the rest of the Crimean Oblast, was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
A minor planet 2141 Simferopol discovered in 1970 by Soviet astronomer Tamara Mikhailovna Smirnova is named after the city.
After Ukrainian independence After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Simferopol became the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within newly independent Ukraine. Today, the city has a population of 340,600 (2006) most of which are ethnic Russians, with the rest being Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities.
After the Crimean Tatars were allowed to return from exile in the 1990s, several new Crimean Tatar suburbs were constructed, as many more Tatars returned to the city compared to number of exiled in 1944. Land ownership between the current residents and returning Crimean Tatars is a major area of conflict today with the Tatars requesting the return of lands seized after their deportation. The Simferopol Reservior provides clean drinking water to the city.
Simferopol is currently twinned with: - Hungary Kecskemét, Hungary - Bulgaria Rousse, Bulgaria - United States Salem, United States - Turkey Bursa and Eskişehir, Turkey - Germany Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg is Simferopol's sister city since 1991. In the center of the city, there is a "Heidelberg House", which was constructed in 2000 from the private donation of Mr. Manfred Lautenschlaeger, the founder of MLP AG, Heidelberg. The House belongs to two partner organizations: "Freundeskreis Heidelberg – Simferopol" (Heidelberg, Germany) and "Circle of Friends Simferopol – Heidelberg" (Crimea, Ukraine). It earned an international reputation due to a number of projects and activities in the field of culture, education and social support.
Simferopol is located in the south-central portion of the Crimean peninsula. The city lies on the Salhir River and near the artificial Simferopol Reservoir, which provides the city with clean drinking water.
The city's climate is dry and warm, with mild winters, Cfa by the Köppen climate classification. The average temperature in January is 0.4 °C (32.7 °F) and 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) in July. The average rainfall is 509 millimetres (20.0 in) per year, and there is a total of 2,469 hours of sunshine per year.
As the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Simferopol houses its political structure including the Parliament and Council of Ministers. Simferopol is also the administrative center of the Simferopolskyi Raion (district), however, it is directly subordinate to the Crimean authorities rather than to the raion authorities housed in the city itself.
The city of Simferopol is administratively divided into three raions (Zaliznychnyi, Tsentralnyi, and Kyivskyi), four urban-type settlements (Ahrarne, Aeroflotskyi, Hriesivskyi, Komsomolske) and one village (Bitumne). The city's mayor is Henadiy Babenko, formerly from the Party of Regions but expelled from that party in September 2009.
Simferopol has a main railway station, which serves millions of tourists each year. The city is also connected via the Simferopol International Airport, which was constructed in 1936.
The city also has several main bus stations, with routes towards many cities, including Sevastopol, Kerch, Yalta, and Yevpatoriya. The Crimean Trolleybus connects Simferopol to the city of Yalta on Crimean Black Sea coast. The line is the longest trolleybus line in the world with a total length of 86 kilometres (53 mi).
As of the Ukrainian National Census, 2001, Simferopol's population is 363,600. According to the census, Russians constitute 66.7% of the total population, Ukrainians - 21.3%, Crimean Tatars - 7%, Belarusians - 1.1%, Poles - 0.2% and Moldovans - 0.1%.
The largest collection of higher education institutions in Crimea are located in Simferopol. Among them is the largest university in Simferopol and Crimea is the Taurida V.Vernadsky National University, which was founded in 1917. Crimea State Medical University named after S. I. Georgievsky, also located in Simferopol, is one of the most prominent medical schools of Ukraine.
- Lyudmila Blonska, heptathlete - Oleg Aleksandrovich Dzubenko, Ukrainian jurist - Franz Josef Grenzebach jr., diplomatist of the Russian Tzar and Trader in Eastern Europe and Middle East in the 19th century - Andriy Hryvko, a Ukrainian cyclist who rides for Team Milram - Adolph Joffe, a Russian Communist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and a Soviet diplomat - Sergey Karjakin, the youngest chess grandmaster in history at the age of 12 years and 7 months - Yana Klochkova, a Ukrainian swimmer, who has won five Olympic medals in her career, with four of them being gold - Oleg Kotov, Col. Russian Air Force, Expedition 15 Soyuz Commander & Flight Engineer - Zara Levina, a Russian composer - Saint Luke of Simferopol, born Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky, surgeon and Archbishop of Simferopol - Yuri I. Manin, a Russian-born mathematician - Ekaterina Serebrianskaya, an individual rhythmic gymnast - Lev Sigalevitch, russian painter - Valery Sigalevitch (son of Lev Sigalevitch), russian pianist - Evhen Tsybulenko, professor of international law
Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. The city of Kiev (Kyiv) is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine.