by Natalia Rudnichenko©PANORAMA
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110 years ago, in 1898, Friedrich Falz-Fein, a landowner, sheep breeder, and naturalist from the Askania-Nova village in the province of Tavria reserved 600 hectares of his wild steppe land in order to preserve it for future generations in its original state. By that time, the naturalist had created a real oasis in the dry steppes of Tavria: a zoo and a silvicultural park with artificial irrigation (unusual at the time). Thanks to Falz-Fein, Ukraine now has a modern biosphere reserve unique in EuropeToday this reservation is the highlight of the Kherson region for numerous tourists who travel across the south of Ukraine. And it all began from the hobby of ten-year-old Friedrich: breeding local birds in aviaries he received as a gift from his father. Some people considered Friedrich Falz-Fein a strange person for his “non-commercial” interests, but the international scientific community called him “the Askanian Darwin” and “the first ecologist”. After visiting dozens of zoos and botanical gardens around the world, he implemented the newest techniques of animal breeding. To carry on his experiments, he consulted with leading scientists on the selection of domestic animals, as well as acclimatisation and breeding of rare species. By that time, his park was the third-largest private zoo in Europe, after those in London and Amsterdam. At the end of the 19th century, the Askania-Nova zoo hosted 208 species of birds and 52 species of ungulates from Eurasia, Africa, the Americas and Australia. Friedrich Falz-Fein built his collection over 42 years, increasing the number of species every year until 1916.Today, the oldest heir of the family is a nephew of the founder of the Askania-Nova reserve: Eduard Oleksandrovych Falz-Fein (born in 1912), in his time a famous sportsman, journalist and businessman. Since 1936, he is a subject of the Lichtenstein principality, where he resides now in the Askania-Nova villa. Baron Falz-Fein is one of the few sponsors who supports the reserve financially and morally, at the same time restoring historic justice about the works of his great predecessor.
Askania-Nova: Facts and Figures
- The story of Askania-Nova begins in 1828, when German colonists sent by count Ferdinand Anhalt Ketten came to occupy the Tavrian steppes. Askania was the name of Ferdinand’s manor in Saxony. Until 1834, Askania-Nova was called “New Ketten”. Today there is a society of local Anhalt historians from Ketten, who provide the reserve information as well as drawings and engravings by first settlers.
- In 1856, Falz-Fein bought Askania-Nova from the Anhalt family.
- Friedrich Falz-Fein was the first zoologist in the world to implement a model of natural reserve which was recognised by UNESCO as the prototypical structure of a biosphere reserve in 1972.
- The Biosphere reservation consists of 11054 hectares of steppe, near which there is a national dendrological park covering 167 hectares and a zoo with animals living in close to wild conditions. The herds are kept on an area of 2300 hectares. The total area of the biosphere reservation is 33 300 hectares.
- Today the reservation hosts more than 2500 species of animals, 69 of which are listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine and twelve in the international lists of protected or endangered animals.
- There are more than 500 species of grasses and flowers in the Askanian steppe, 85 of which are native. The steppe changes colour four to seven times through the seasons, interchanging yellow, blue, silver, lilac, flaxen and turquoise shades.
- Askania-Nova is also an open-air museum with Polovets (Turkic) stone women statues created about ten centuries ago remaining on the territory of the reservation.
- The world’s first breeding of Przewalski’s horses in captivity started in the reserve, helping conserve this breed on the planet. Now one of the world’s largest herds of Przewalski’s horses roams the steppes in the reserve of Askania-Nova.
- Approximately 100,000 tourists visit this unique biosphere reservation every year.
Переглянути більшу мапуAddress of F. E. Falz-Fein Askania-Nova BiosphereReserve:13 Frunze Str., Askania-Nova village, Chaplynskiy district, Kherson region,tel.: + 38 05538 612 32, +38 05539 612 86.Touristic season is from April 25th to November 10th.Where to stay:Cannes Hotel, 22 Chervonoarmiyska Str., Askania village,tel.: +38 050 393 4744;www.askania-nova-kanna.com.ua;e-mail: email@example.com.
Ukraine International Airlines offers direct daily flights to Kiev from most of Western Europe’s largest cities.With your Panorama Club Card you can earn miles on all Ukraine International Airlines flights and flights of our partner airlines: Air France (excluding the Kiev-Paris route), Austrian Airlines, KLM, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Portugal.Buy tickets on line at www.flyUIA.com. For more information, call us in Kiev at +380 44 581 5050.KievStar, MTC, Life:) and Beeline cellular service subscribers can dial 566.From Kiev, take a train to Kherson, and then a bus from the Kherson train station to Askania-Nova.
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