The fame of Simeiz (located on the Crimean peninsula, near the city of Yalta) as a gay resort goes as far back as to the 70s, when homosexuality was still criminally prosecuted and hundreds of Soviet gays were jailed each year. In part due to its remoteness from main tourist attractions of the Republic of Crimea haunted by happy heterosexual families, Simeiz used to be (and so remains) the most flamboyant gay beach of the former Soviet Union. In terms of infrastructure, it has not much to offer as compared to Sitges in Spain or Key West in the States, but we promise you will never regret the days your spend there. We re-print below an article from the Ukrainian gay newspaper Our World praising the attractions of this heavenly beautiful place.
GAY BLACK SEA AREA
Simeiz is a spa settlement on the Southern coast of the Black Sea, in the Crimea. It is a part of Big Yalta located at the distance of 40-minute bus ride from it*.
As the natives say, Simeiz has the best climate in the Crimea - even better than in Yalta itself - created by coniferous woods growing along mountain ridges and by azure sea water in the bay. Evidently, it is due to this fact that sanatoria and rest-houses for consumptive children were built here. However, now, at these troublesome times, you see far fewer asthenic teenagers come to this place to pep up their health. It's a shame. But we are going to speak of other things.
There is a very beautiful place spread over the bay fenced off by the mountain Koshka (Cat) from mainland winds. Beneath, in a small cove, right on the rocks, lies a nudist beach - "straight" from one side and "gay" from the other. It is this fact that Simeiz is famed for (unofficially, of course).
I have no idea as to when and by whom this place was "created", but this happened long ago. It saw the period of heyday at the times of "stagnation", and later - at the times of perestroika - it went through a decline. But now it is crowded again - people are flocking back to familiar places. Luxuriating in the sun, swimming, eating fruit and seeking adventures at places located a bit higher, in chaotic pile-up of sharp cliffs fragments, men and boys are accumulating vitamins and tans and getting a charge of happiness for the long, nasty, cold winter. At the height of the season - from mid-June through late August - rocks are literally strewn with naked bodies.
Visitors are far and wide variegated. This year among the guests were: ordinary elderly Moscovites with a "lady-bird" backpack, a boy from some place in Siberia who was on a special mission from his friend who had warned him "to stay clear of anyone else", a group of tough boys had "stocked up" on a young pumped body, a doctor from the local sanatorium. By and large stunning encounters take place on a constant basis. I raise my head and see an old friend of mine from Moscow. A nice place to meet each other! Then - another acquaintance, and one more... So small is this world. Especially this world of ours.
Depending on financial possibilities folks prefer to stay either in Simeiz itself (this year a bed in a wooden "hut" was priced $3) or in Yalta (where a bedroom-sitting room was worth about $10). Those who go for Yalta as their residence, use the advantages of a big city's European standards. When the weather is clement, one heads for Simeiz on a bus. In former times these buses were rare and "our kind" filled a vehicle to the capacity on the road from Yalta in the morning and back from Simeiz in the evening; so the natives gave the bus a name "Gay express".
Those who stay in Simeiz can enjoy evening at a cafe with a strange name "Ezhiki" (Hedgehogs). An observant passer-by, having taken a look at the cafe's ground lit with multicolored light bulbs, can notice a few tables occupied by strange all-male companies. But does this matter in this cacophony of music, southern night crickets, guffaw and drunk cries? Drink your sweet Crimean muscatel, enjoy yourself and dance!
On the eve of departure our small male company dropped in this hangout too. A young waiter replied to our greetings with a timid smile, and I could not help requesting an improvised interview of him. I had always been wondering about the natives' attitude toward gays.
- Sure they are all know of the gays and there are no problems with this. They are the same as other people and they bring in an income - who would object to that? Up to seventy percent of our cafe's clients are gays (I guess he was quite stretching the truth. Still he is better informed).
- You are a handsome boy, I bet you were offered sex.
- Yes, I was. But I decline the offers politely as this is not up my alley.
- Since you've started working here and socializing with gays - has your view of them altered?
- Yes, and I guess to the better. They are very cultured and I've never noticed any rudeness or bad manners from their side. Other clients are different - constantly grumbling about this or that.
In the same neighborhood as the "Hedgehog" another of Simeiz sights is located - the villa "Xenia". At some time in the past all its buildings were akin to its name - airy, tracery and detached in a slightly Asian style. Regretably, the former beauty has faded due to the influence of time and man - broken glass, decrepit walls. But the rumor has it that a certain fat cat is going to buy it and make a boarding-house out of it.
But I and my friend are still young of spirit and body, and we are unpretentious; we sleep, eat and so on - on the rocks. Our roof is the blue sky and such a life is our fortune.
Each morning we were awakened by tender rays of the sun and by the cries of noisy sea-gulls making their way toward the place known only to them.
The beach looks deserted in the morning, shoals of dolphins chasing each other in glistening waves of the sea. So cool!
Nash Mir (Our World)
* Simeiz is located some 30 km from Yalta. To get there take Bus 26 or 43, then go to the Lenin sanatorium, 50 m ahead and down to the sea, right after the rock overlooking the water. -- Gay.Ru Note.