Arabat Spit

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Arabat Arrow
Арабатська стрілка
Арабатская стрелка
Arabat arrow.jpg
Country Ukraine/Russian Federation (disputed[nb 1]


Regions Crimea, Kherson Oblast
Districts Henichesk, Nyzhnyohirsk, Sovyetsky, Kirovske, Leninske
Landmark Azov-Syvash (Nature Preserve)
Population 3,664 (2001)
Southern part of the Arabat Arrow. View from Arabat Fortress

The Arabat Arrow (Ukrainian: Арабатська стрілка, Arabatska strilka; Crimean Tatar: Arabat beli; Russian: Арабатская стрелка, Arabatskaya strelka) or Arabat Spit (Ukrainian: Арабатська коса, Russian: Араба́тская коса́) is a spit (narrow strip of land) which separates a large, shallow and very salty system of lagoons named Syvash from the Sea of Azov. The spit is located between the Henichesk Strait to the north and the north-eastern shores of Crimea to the south.[3]


"Arrow" is not an idiomatic Russian or Ukrainian name for "spit", rather this peninsula is called the Arabat Arrow for unknown reasons, perhaps because it is very long and thin and rather straight.[4]

Geography and geology

The Arabat Arrow is 112 km long,[5] and from 270 m to 8 km wide;[4][6][7] its surface area is 395 km2 and thus the average width is 3.5 km. The spit is low and straight on the Azov Sea side, whereas its Sivash side is more convoluted. It contains two areas which are 7–8 km wide and have brown-clay hills; they are located 7.5 km and 32 km from the Henichesk Strait. The top layers of other parts of the spit are formed by sand and shells washed by the flows of the Azov Sea. Its vegetation mostly consists of various weed grasses, thorn, festuce grasses, spear grass, crambe, salsola, salicornia, Carex colchica, tamarisk, rose hip, liquorice, etc.[8][9] Offshore water is shallow with the depth reaching 2 meters only some 100–200 meters from the shore.[10] Its temperature is around 0 °C in winter (near freezing), 10–15 °C in spring and autumn, and 25–30 °C in summer; air temperature is almost the same.[11]

The spit is very young and was created by sedimentation processes around 1100–1200 AD.[12]


The Arabat Arrow was wild until 1835 when a road and five stations spaced by 25–30 km were built along it for postal delivery. Later in the 19th century, 25 rural and 3 military settlements and one village named Arabat appeared on the spit. The rural population amounted to some 235 people whose occupation was mostly fishery, farming and salt production. The latter activity is traditional for the region due to the vast areas of shallow and very saline water in the Sivash lagoons. Salt production in the 19th century was about 24,000 tonnes/year on the Arabat Arrow alone.[9]

Nowadays, the spit is a health resort and its Azov Sea side is used as a beach.

While the spit is geophysically a part of the Crimean Peninsula, politically its northern half belongs to Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, while its southern portion is a part of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;[4] since the internationally disputed unilateral March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia Crimea is under the de facto administration of the Russian Republic of Crimea.[1][2]

Populated places

The rural communities of Shchaslyvtseve and Strilkove are located in the northern section of the spit, within the Kherson Oblast. The community of Solyane is located in the southern part of the spit, administered as part of the Republic of Crimea.

See also


  1. The status of the Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is currently under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers the Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities since the March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia.[1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gutterman, Steve. "Putin signs Crimea treaty, will not seize other Ukraine regions". Retrieved 26 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ukraine crisis timeline, BBC News
  3. Semenov, p.624
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Shutov, Introduction
  5. Petrov, V.P. (1964). Geography of the Soviet Union: Physical features. p. 112.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. V. I. Borisov and E. I. Kapitonov (1973). Azov Sea (in Russian). KKI.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Sivash" (in Russian). Great Soviet Encyclopedia.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Shutov, Part 1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Semenov, p.111
  10. Арабатская стрелка (in Russian)
  11. Shutov, Part 5
  12. Shutov, Part 4


External links

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