Your tour begins with a scenic drive to the most famous of the Crimean War sites - the Balaclava Valley. Steep cliffs and rocky hillsides dotted with juniper trees, vineyards and wildflowers dominate the landscape in this now peaceful valley that was once referred to as Death Valley by the surviving cavalrymen of the Light Brigade. A stop will be made at the Monument of Reconciliation for an informative talk before proceeding to the Balaclava Port.
Upon arrival, your guide will give you a brief overview of the town of Balaclava and then you will have some time to further explore it on your own. This thoroughly intriguing town was captured by the British without bloodshed in September 1854 and used as their supply base for nearly 2 years during the Crimean War. One of the remaining structures built by the British is the Embankment, which is still in use today. Balaclava once again became a hub of military activity during the height of the Cold War when the Soviet military chose this area to begin construction of a top secret underground complex. Forged deep into the rock, man-made tunnels housed underground shops, arsenals and roads. A deep-water channel made it possible for submarines to easily enter. The purpose of this highly strategic location was to serve as a shelter in case of a nuclear threat. For years, most of the local residents were connected to the military and no one was allowed to enter the town without special permit. It was here that Soviet submarines carrying nuclear warheads could be securely concealed from sight while waiting out the danger of an attack. Once it was deemed safe, they would then be allowed to emerge from their underground hiding place and put out to sea where they could commence return strikes against their adversary. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the soldiers who once stood guard over this highly sensitive military site were dismissed and without its protectors, the complex was quickly stripped of all things of value.
Leaving Balaclava port, you'll next travel to Sapoune Ridge. It was from this very spot that the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, Lord Raglan, agonizingly watched the unfolding disaster of the Balaklava Battle on October 25, 1854. This epic battle is immortalized in Lord Tennyson's famous poem, Charge of the Light Brigade. Looking out from the observation platform, one can clearly imagine what it must have been like in the valley below on that fateful day.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 1/2 hour of walking, at times on uneven ground and is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Hats and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The order of sites visited may vary. This tour does not visit the underground submarine base (Naval museum) at Balaclava.