ECO-TOUR "LOWER DNIESTER NATIONAL NATURE PARK"

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TOUR ROUTE


1. GOLOVKIVKA 
The village Golovkivka was named after the Black Sea Cossack Ataman Anton Golovaty. But in 1792 he moved to the Kuban, and the place gradually regained its first name "Bilyaivka", which originates from White Lake. 



2. FLOODPLAIN FOREST 
Floodplain forests grow under extreme environmental conditions: in spring the forest areas are flooded for a long time (from 3 to 5 weeks). Therefore, the species composition is limited: the main tree species are the white willow (Salix alba) and the white poplar (Populus alba). The gray willow (Salix cinerea), the brittle willow (Salix fragilis), the black poplar (Populus nigra), and the wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) can be also found. Tiered structure of floodplain forests creates favorable conditions for the existence of many birds and animals, and forms many cozy corners. 



3. WHITE LAKE 
White Lake is one of the largest lakes on the Dniester estuary after Lakes Tudorovo and Putryne. The number of white lilies on the lake is so great that its surface seems white. The lake is about 2 km long, 1.3 km wide. In some places it is up to 1.6 m deep. The total number of plant species is only about 25 species, but, nevertheless, it is a unique habitat of plant species, protected at different environmental levels.



4. DNIESTER FLOODPLAINS
In a remote corner of the lake a bunch of birds is lurking, their appearance resembles domestic ducks. They are Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) – the most common species in the floodplains of large rivers of Ukraine. Raising your eyes, you can see amazing black birds with curved beaks and long legs flying over the lake. This is the Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) – an indicator of ecological balance.



5. DNIESTER ARROW 
The locals call the place where the Turunchuk meets the Dniester the arrow, as this place reminds a Tatar arrow directed towards the sea. Here begins the area which has long served as the place of crossing, because the high left bank approaches the joint in one riverbed Dniester water, and the way from the floodplains leads to the right side hill near Palanka. 



6. CROSSING OF KING DARIUS 
Famous kings and military commanders of the ancient world crossed the lower reaches of the Dniester. Imagine the grand Persian army of one to five hundred thousand men! Not all returned back, but only a pitiful handful of fugitives led by the "King of Kings" fled from the Scythians. 



7. BLACK CASTLE 
Somewhere here, on the left-hand bank of the Dniester mysterious castle – Chornohorod (Black Castle) – was situated. Black Castle was first mentioned in 1421, when the governor of Podolia Hedyhold by order of Grand Duke of Lithuania and Russia Vytautas built a castle opposite Belgorod. 12 000 employees constructed the fortress, brought stone and wood on carts. It was destroyed in the XVth century, but was designated on the XVIIth – and even XVIIIth – century maps. Historians still argue where exactly the legendary Chornohorod was situated. Most think it was on site of the Tatar tract MiyakeHechit. In the XVIIth century it was called Tatar-Hazan (“headquarter” of Tatar khan). On the ruins of TatarHazan Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants and Russian Old Believers, founded modern Mayaky in the late XVIIIth century. 



8. GONTARENKO ISLAND 
Islands of the Dniester delta are mostly nameless. Straits, corners, spits have names, but not islands. Gontarenko Island is one of a few exceptions. It was named only about ten years ago after Vadim Gontarenko (1926-2000) who led the local meteorological station for 40 years (1960-2000). The station was founded in 1947 and since then has been a center of the Dniester delta research. 



9. FLOODPLAIN MEADOWS 
Floodplain meadows occupy a small area of the Lower Dniester national park. Meadows are characterized by the dominance of perennial herbaceous plants, primarily grasses and sedges, which can exist in moisture. Meadows are in the riverine valleys and in spring are flooded for up to 2 months. In the Dniester delta there are meadows flooded for a short period (up to 20 days) and for a long period (2 months).



10. DEEP TURUNCHUK 
In the XIX century it took a long time to go from Mayaky to the Dniester Liman and even longer to come back. The long riverbed wriggled along the delta making scheduled flights impossible, complicating navigation. Unloading barges and rafts in Mayaky was quite expensive because transportation to Odessa significantly increased the price of goods. In 1838 a Russian merchant Alexander Surovtsev appealed to the local government to dig a canal. He was ready to cover the costs, but asked for a 10 year monopoly on transportation of goods from Mayaky to Odessa. However, he spent all his fortune to create the canal called Surovtsev’s canal but received no guaranteed benefits, went bankrupt and died in poverty. He created a surprisingly comfortable and effective canal. Now all the boats that follow from Mayaky and back choose it as the shortest and safest way. 



11. KILIARIYSKY SHALLOW CHANNEL 
Turunchuk is significantly affected by Kilyariyskyy shallow channel, artificially created by local fishermen in the nineteenth century. Despite the depth of only about 2 m, and width of 3.4 m, it plays an important role in the migration of bream and herring. 



12. "BUDZHAK BAY" 
The land between the Danube and the Dniester is a historical region Budzhak or Bessarabia. This region has had different names, belonged to different states, has been populated by different peoples, because it is located on the border of different cultural worlds and is the gateway between them. 



13. DNIESTER LIMAN 
The history of the formation of the Dniester Liman is similar to the formation of other Black Sea limans. About 3 thousand years ago the sea began to recede. These events are called the Phanagorian regression. The sea maximally receded in Vth century BC, when the sea level was 2 m below the current level (in some places up to 8 m). After the Vth century BC the sea levels began to increase again, Nymphaion transgression started, and the Dniester bay filled with the sea waters again. 



14. WHITE CASTLE 
Now look to the right: over there on the horizon lies the ancient city of Bilhorod-Dniestrovsky. It is more than 2500 years old. The legendary fortress is situated in the centre, on the Dniester Liman bank, its towers are visible with the naked eye. 



15. KARAGOL BAY 
In addition, Karagol Bay is the wintering grounds for the carp, common carp, crucian carp. That is why commercial fishing is traditionally prohibited in the area. Karagol Bay overlooks the steep banks of the Dniester liman. In these circumstances typical steppe vegetation in the Lower Dniester National Park preserved.