A quick 30-minute drive southeast of Sevastopol brings you to the Crimean resort of Balaclava. The restaurants and boulevard bars are delightful places to refresh yourself if you just want to stroll along the waterfront, but this is a major diving center for the Black Sea and also a harbor where you can get boat trips out onto the water. Some tours visit the old Soviet submarine pens across the harbor. In the Middle Ages, Balaclava belonged to the Genoese, who built a fort on the hill overlooking the approach to the harbor. It's well worth the 30-minute climb to the top to view the ruins, from which the views are stunning, allowing you to take some spectacular photos of Balaclava. Balaclava was particularly noteworthy for its role during the Crimean War. It was in Balaclava that Florence Nightingale helped set up the first professional military hospital. And the nearby Balaclava Valley was the site of the infamous "Charge of the Light Brigade," remembered by Tennyson in his famous poem, where the British had a disastrous loss during the Battle of Balaclava in October 1854.
When there was every reason in the world to stay away and see the ruins, one woman traveled to Greece to get to work.More