Whale sharks, submerged WW2 fighter planes or maybe ever pirate ships! That’s the standard sales patter for scuba diving schools the world over. Building up the expectations of the unsuspecting backpacker to separate them from their money. Now I may be wrong in the following assumption but few diving clubs, to my knowledge, offer an underwater history lesson. A history lesson that brings you face to face with Marx, Lenin and Stalin.
A Family Day out with Karl, Vladimir and Joseph???
But that is what is on offer for those willing to take the plunge and head on over to the Western Crimea…political circumstances of the region permitting of course. A hundred meters off the coast of Cape Tarhankut around 10 to 12 metres under the sea lies a collection of over 50 busts, models and statues. As mentioned above Marx, Lenin and Stalin show their faces, and on multiple occasions. But they are accompanied by other lesser known Soviet leaders, a mini Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge, and there is even a wind turbine. I like to think there is some thing there for everyone. There is even a rumour of a Buddha statue but I haven’t been able to prove this one way or another.
This “alley of leaders” dive site is separated into two sections. There is the “leaders of the October Revolutions” gallery and then the “classic film and literature” gallery. The attraction has no official website and little documentation exists about it online. What we do know however is that the project was the brain child of a chap called Vladimir Broumenskyy, a native of Donetsk.
Tireless Ambition and an sense Artistic Composition
The story goes that in 1992 after the fall of the USSR, Broumenskyy acquired a bust of Lenin. He decided to mount it in the Cape Tarhankut area, but at this point had no intention of displaying it underwater. Disaster struck for Broumenskyy as a number of the local residents took exception to the controversial figure’s recent arrival. As a keen scuba diver and member of the local Neptune dive club he took the ingenious decision to move the statue into the calm waters of the Black Sea. And so the museum was born and over the years the collection was expanded by Broumenskyy and his friends to it’s present, admittedly impressive, state.
Cape Tarhankut is known as a mysterious and romantic location and was a popular diving area even before the creation of the museum. The weather is often perfect for scuba diving and the waters can boast visibility of up to 30 meters. On a particularly crystal clear day the “Alley of Leaders” can be seen from the surface.