- Photos of Dzharylhach island
- Nature and climate of the island
- History and myths about Dzharylhach
- What to see on Dzharylhach
- Dzharylhach Island on the map
- How to get to the island
- Vacations on the Dzharylhach island
Dzharylhach is the largest uninhabited island in Ukraine and Europe with an area of 56 km². A lot of legends and interesting stories are associated with it. Many tourists call this beautiful place, hidden in the Black Sea (Kherson region), the “Ukrainian Maldives” because of the snow-white sand, wildlife, and crystal clear water. Here, you can find amazingly beautiful seashells, see dolphins swimming along the shore, and cook delicacies such as sea snails, mussels, and fish over a campfire.
Incredible azure water, remoteness from the hustle and bustle of the city and the peaceful silence, only occasionally disturbed by the cries of seagulls, is all that is needed for a wonderful vacation alone or with loved ones.
Photos of Dzharylhach island
Dzharylhach National Nature Park: nature and climate of the island
The area has a warm, dry climate throughout the summer season. There is no more than 400 mm of rainfall during the year, and the average daily temperature from mid-May to September is + 22-24°C.
Due to its unique placement between two large bays, the beginning of the swim season may vary on different parts of the island by as much as 4 to 6 weeks.
- The northern coast is washed by the Dzharylhach Bay. Due to the shallow depth, the bay water warms up very quickly. By May, it is about +20°C, and in July, it rises to above +30°C.
- The southern coast is flat and borders the deep the Karkinit Bay. Its water is much cooler and heats up to a comfortable temperature by the end of June. It is often stormy from this side, and stinging jellyfish often swim up to the shore.
The island is divided into two zones:
- Steppe — this is the flat part, covered with plants that produce phytoncides. In combination with the evaporation of seawater, they make the air in this area healing, filled with fluorine, bromine, and iodine.
- Solonchak — salt lakes are located here that provide a source of healing mud. It is reportedly good for the skin, boosts immunity, and is effective in case of frequent infections of the respiratory system. Migratory birds, the great many of which are in the season, have chosen this place for nesting.
The vegetation on the island may initially seem monotonous, since only wild herbs grow in the majority of this region. In fact, there are over five hundred species of plants in this location, most of which are endangered. For example:
- Chrysopogon gryllus which can hold quicksand;
- unusual swamp sawgrass;
- splendid Stipa borysthenica;
- numerous plants from the orchid family.
The main vegetation includes reed, sedge, sagebrush, and milkweed; there are also reedmace, olives.
Since the 1960s, Skadovsk forestry began to plant various trees and bushes here, from which willow, locust, narrow-leaved loy, branched elm, and tamarix have taken root.
The unique flora and fauna attracts not only tourists, but also professional photographers, because you can take unique photos of interesting animals in their natural habitat, such as:
- moufflons (can be found in reed fields and reedmace);
- deer strolling among the olive trees.
Dzharylhach Island is a paradise for ornithologists, because many birds live and spend the winter on the island:
- black storks;
- sheld ducks;
- white pelicans;
- numerous gulls and gannets;
- mute swans.
Dzharylhach also attracts fishing enthusiasts, because the bay is known for its gobies and flounder as well as trophy specimen of mullet, horse mackerel, and herring. If you are snorkeler, you can easily catch mussels, crab, shrimp, and sea snails for dinner.
With the first sunrays of the day, pods of dolphins will swim up to the shore to hunt for small fish.
It is worth mentioning that there are many insects and reptiles in the steppe, among which are the dangerous karakurt spiders (Latrodectus pallidus). They are particularly aggressive in the summer when they are laying their eggs.
History and myths about Dzharylhach
According to numerous archaeological studies, Dzharylhach appeared several thousand years BC. Many artifacts were found here including household items of the Neolithic era, ancient mounds, burial grounds of the Sarmatians, Scythians, and burials of the Bronze Age.
Historians claim that the island was mentioned by Herodotus and Ptolemy in their writings, and some are even convinced that it is described in the famous Homer's Odyssey.
According to legend, the island formed because of the flooding of the Achilleos Dromos spit where the eternally young priestess of the Temple of Artemis, Iphigenia, took refuge. She was promised as a wife to Achilles by her father, the Greek king, but she fled from her fiancé. The goddess Artemis helped her in this, covering up the feet of Achilles with white sand in which his legs were stuck. Growing tired, he gave up trying to catch up with his bride, and from the sand arose an island more than 40 km long.
The modern name is translated from the Turkic language as “burnt trees”. It first appeared on navigation maps in 1800. In the 19th century, the first lighthouse was erected here. Its design is attributed to Gustave Eiffel, but in fact, it was designed by one of his students. Today, the lighthouse does not function; there is a new one nearby. Together, they look interesting surrounded by the ruins of old buildings.
For a long time, the island belonged to the Askania-Nova reserve, but in 2009, by decree of the President of Ukraine it received an independent status of the Dzharylhach National Nature Park. The purpose of the nature park is to preserve the rarest species of flora and fauna found there.
What to see on Dzharylhach Island
To diversify your beach vacation, you can visit local natural and man-made attractions and try to solve the mysteries of the desert island on your own. Featured attractions include:
- Salt lakes – There are over 400 bodies of water, the size and coastline of which vary depending on the weather and the amount of rainfall. They are reportedly filled with healing water containing a high content of bromine and iodine. Their healing muds reportedly strengthen immunity and help to cure various diseases of the nervous and respiratory systems.
- Residence of Mark Monakh (monk) – his name as written in his passport - is the only permanent resident of the island. He built a church there, the walls of which were painted by an experienced artist with images of saints. However, due to accusations of illegal construction and assistance to poachers as well as violations of church laws (Mark has the status of priest of the Pechersk Lavra monastery). In 2013, the church was demolished based on the decision of the local prosecutor's office. The priest returned to the ruins and even prepared a coffin for himself, which, according to Mark, God instructed him to make.
- Monument in honor of the defenders of Skadovsk during World War II – built in 1989, it is located not far from the berth of the Hluboka Spit.
As previously mentioned, there are two lighthouses on the island. One of them, installed in 1997, is modern and operational. It still has strategic importance for the Black Sea. You can hardly call it a landmark but if you climb to the very top of the structure, you can enjoy a stunning panorama of the island. The second is the Eiffel Lighthouse, built in 1902 and made of iron. It is currently closed to visitors.
It is noteworthy that the lighthouses are located in the narrowest part of the island. This allows you to move between the beaches of the north and south sides. Additionally, there is a source of freshwater for tourists who are camping.
Here, you can see the ruins of buildings that previously served as lodging for lighthouse keepers.
Dzharylhach Island on the map
How to get to the island
You can get to the island from Skadovsk. In high season, boats and steamboats go back and forth from the Skadovsk pier.
You can get to Skadovsk by any convenient transport:
- Private car travel is best on the road from Kyiv to Skadovsk through Odesa-Mykolaiv-Kherson. A distance of 780 km can be traveled in nine hours.
- Regular buses to Skadovsk go from Kherson, Odesa, and Mykolaiv according to the schedule, which is available at the ticket offices or online. It’s better to go out from the center of town, not at the bus station. From the center, the road to the island is much closer.
- Trains go to Kherson from many regions of Ukraine, therefore it is most comfortable to get to the town by railway. A regular bus goes from the station to Skadovsk every hour. The road takes just 1.5 hours.
From the side of Lazurne, the island is separated from the mainland only by a small strait, which is often covered with sand, allowing access to the island by foot. Visitors who enjoy long hikes can reach the island this way; however, you should keep in mind that the distance is quite long - 20 km. Here is a point on the map:
Vacations on Dzharylhach island
One-day sightseeing tours are often available on the island. However, in order to enjoy the local beauties and the peaceful silence, that is, to truly relax and get away from the bustle of the city, it is worthwhile to stay for a few days.
Some options include:
- Stay in your own tent. It is best to put your tent near a freshwater source and be sure to pay 50 UAH to the cash desk of the national park.
- Try the "reed town". There are homemade eco-tents located near the pier, which have a reed roof and algae rugs. For a comfortable overnight stay, you will need to bring Karrimats and sleeping bags. Renting such a "house" for 2-3 people costs about 200 UAH. There are common outdoor shower and toilet facilities, and a cafe.
- Rent a bungalow. At Hluboka pier, where the boats from Skadovsk arrive, you can rent a house with 2-3 beds for about 800 UAH per day. You should book accommodations in advance.
There are no permanent buildings on the coast, since their presence contradicts the natural, environmental concept. The summer cafes offer a variety of dishes such as mussels, sea snail, fish, and shrimp, as well as beverages.