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Reading list | Feodosiya

Now a pleasing backwater with a great seafront railway station and a grand museum dedicated to its most famous son, the painter Ivan Aivazovsky, Feodosiya – or Kaffa, as it was known to the Genoese – was once a bustling port. It gave its name to the dwarf red tulip with pointed petals [(Kefe Lâlesi)](/magazine/articles/the-painted-garden/) that grew wild in Crimea and became the Ottoman tulip, sparking the tulip mania of the 17th century. Feodosiya is one of Europe’s oldest cities, first settled by colonists from Miletus in the sixth century BC. Under Genoese then Ottoman control, Feodosiya flourished from its access to the Sea of Azov, the fertile interior and Central Asia’s trade routes. Today it is mercifully unexploited, and makes a good base from which to explore the dramatic coastline captured by Aivazovsky, as well as its historic hinterland. The traveller Karl Koch visited the city in 1840, and was full of praise for the place which he visited as he travelled west from Kerch to Simferopol. Perhaps one reason for his good mood was his hotel. 'The sun was just setting when I arrived in Theodosia, and again found a comfortable welcome in a German inn. For the first time, after many months, I saw a white linen sheet on my bed, and a pillow-case. In Kertch I had not fared so well, although there I had enjoyed a mattress and a leather-covered pillow.' Koch was particularly struck by Feodosia's situation. 'Theodosia is incomparably more value than Sebastopol for commercial purposes. A convenient road lead to the interior of the peninsula, which is more accessible to cultivation in the east than in the west. The Don pours its waters into the neighbouring Sea of Azov; the mouth of the Kuban is still nearer.' [Koch's *Crimea*](
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