For photographer Sergei Anashkevitch, taking remarkable images of China, France, Tanzania and seemingly everywhere in between is just another day in the life. He posts images of his travels to his blog, "A Life In Travel," and to his Instagram account, where he's amassed more than 13,000 followers. But no matter where he goes, the 36-year-old keeps returning to his home of Crimea, an embattled peninsula off the mainland of Ukraine.
In the past two years, conflict between Russia and Ukraine has flared over areas of eastern Ukraine. One of the most dramatic developments in the ongoing clash between the two countries was Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, following a widely disputed, Russia-led referendum. The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has been rejected by the international community, and a State Department travel warning cautions potential travelers against "continuing reports of abuses against the local population by de facto authorities in Crimea."
Despite the unrest that's made international headlines, Anashkevitch's images capture an entirely separate -- and breathtaking -- image of Crimea: he celebrates its wild geographic bounty with an undeniable tenderness. His keen lens focuses on its mountains, its shores, its Roman ruins and towering cliffs, with a passion and delicacy that go beyond any glossy tourist brochure.
Crimea has been inhabited since about 1,000 BCE, and has since played host to an array of cultures, from the ancient Scythians to contemporary communities of Crimean Tatars, ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Jews. The 10,400-square mile peninsula has an equally diverse geography, from the Caspian steppe to the Crimean Mountains -- not to mention the resort-studded Black Sea shoreline that has made Crimea a legendary vacation destination in the past.
For those of us who can't get there, Anashkevitch's images allow us an experience universal to anyone with a passion for travel: the ability to preview a far-off place, no matter how difficult to reach, and revel in its marvels from afar.
Clarification: Language has been amended to note that Khersonesus was not exclusively a Roman settlement.