Therapeutic mud, pure air, mineral and hot springs, warm sea and sun-baked sand are the solid foundation on which the peninsula's health resorts are based. Thanks to its natural bounty, Crimea is home to numerous holiday hotels and health resorts with their own bathing facilities and resort parks with health trails and therapeutic beaches.
The unique climate of this region is believed to have been popular during the Crimean Khanate, when floral therapeutic baths prepared with local herbs and flowers were particularly popular.
The peninsula's therapeutic benefits were widely recognised in the 19th century when Russia's first mud baths opened in the town of Saki. It is not for nothing that the imperial family's summer residence was in Crimea, where the august personages of the Romanov dynasty went to improve their health, while many famous military leaders, scientists, cinematographers, artists and writers, including the great Russian writers Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Nikolai Gogol, frequented local private resorts. In their memoirs, they often referred to Simeiz as the Crimean answer to Nice, and called the foothills of Alushta the Switzerland of Crimea.
Under Soviet rule, Crimea received another boost and saw its health resort network expand: one of Lenin's first decrees established an entire network of free health resorts for the masses. The first Soviet resorts were housed in former royal palaces (such as Livadia Palace) and mansions formerly owned by the moneyed class. More health resorts were built later. As a result, Crimea ultimately boasted over 600 health resorts visited annually by vacationers from all over the Soviet Union.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the massive health resort network fell into disrepair, but many institutions remained open and continued to serve all comers.
Today, the legacy of the past is maintained and "rejuvenated" to suit modern needs with the improvement of infrastructure and the introduction of innovative treatments. More resorts and health centres are being built in Crimea, and programmes to support healthy lifestyles, including a variety of diets and sports, are being expanded.
People come here not only to treat their chronic diseases or prevent ailments, but also for medical rehabilitation and recovery after surgery or severe physical or mental exertion.
Crimean resorts located in different regions specialise in different types of ailments.
• The southern coast (Yalta and Alushta) offers year-round access to a gamut of services ranging from rehabilitation for patients who suffered heart attacks or strokes to recovery for patients with various forms of tuberculosis. Local health resorts also specialise in diseases of the respiratory system, vision, musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, as well as neurological and gynecological disorders. In addition, the southern part of the peninsula is home to general therapeutic and multi-purpose health resorts.
• There are two restorative health centres, Yevpatoria and Saki, on the western coast. In Yevpatoria, most health resorts focus on pediatric treatment, but there are many institutions for adult patients. There is treatment for musculoskeletal disorders, non-TB-related upper respiratory tract diseases and gastrointestinal tract ailments, as well as metabolic disorders and hand-arm vibration syndrome. The town of Saki, known for its mud and Lake Saki brine, welcomes patients with a wide range of musculoskeletal diseases, skeletal injuries (including the spine), disorders of the central and the peripheral nervous system, cerebral palsy, gynecological conditions, infertility, prostatitis, diseases of the upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract, dermatological conditions and psoriasis.
• Eastern Crimea (Feodosia, Koktebel, Sudak, Novy Svet, Kerch) is recommended for visitors with diseases of the cardiovascular system, blood circulation, upper respiratory tract, musculoskeletal system, urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system, as well as diabetes.
• There are fewer health resorts in central and mountainous Crimea, but there are still good options for recovery and treatment. For example, people with diseases of the upper respiratory tract are advised to visit the town of Stary Krym with its healing climate and mixture of mountain, forest, steppe and sea air. In addition, the Bakhchisaray District is home to a renowned PT balneotherapy centre which offers local Adzhi-Su mineral water and mud therapy, climate therapy and alternative medicine. It is all positive for people with disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, diseases of the vascular and nervous system, and gynecological and dermatological conditions.