Nature's hidden gem in Ukraine: The Devil's Valley

Marusia Bilous | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you are a true nature lover, this article is definitely for you. I want to share with you the story about a masterpiece of nature. In this place, you won’t find any hotels or luxury resorts, even finding simple supermarkets will be a problem. It is a place where you will discover Ukraine's hidden gem – The Devil's Valley. This story is about Aktove Canyon, situated near the Aktove village in the Mykolaiv region.

Aktove Canyon - The miniature Grand Canyon 

In the south of Ukraine, surrounded by the bare steppe is a real natural wonder. Aktove Canyon is a unique geological and landscape complex that resembles the canyons of North America. This place looks like a miniature Grand Canyon. In fact, Aktove is a vast gulf in the middle of the steppe. The length of the canyon is about 5 km, and the height of the rocks sometimes reaches 40-50 meters. The majestic basalt cliffs are washed by the Mertvovid River (ref. The Dead Water). For its incredible landscape and river, Aktove Canyon was given the unofficial name of "The Devil's Valley." Anyone who has already visited this incredible natural wonder can say that there is something supernatural here.

The Devil's Valley  - the mysterious legends of the canyon

There are several legends about the unofficial name of Aktove Canyon. All of them in some details are related to the Mertvovid River. One of the legends goes back to an ancient time. Once, the Tatar army decided to retrieve Scythian gold out of the canyon, where it was hidden. To protect themselves and the treasures, the locals poured a strong poisonous broth into the river. When the enemies tasted the water, they died almost instantly in terrible torment.

© iStock/nndanko

The second legend connects the Mertvovid River to the Ukrainian Cossacks (a semi-military community of Slavic people). During their battle with the Turks, there were so many deceased, that no water was visible in the river. Locals say that even now, you can hear the noise of that great battle at night. According to another legend, most of the Scythian kings are buried here as well. Despite its spooky name, The Devil's Valley is a wonderful oasis of wildlife that amazes everyone lucky enough to get here.

Aktove Canyon – the place without tourists

Aktove Canyon is a real hidden gem of Ukraine. Even among Ukrainians, there are very few people who know about the existence of this incredible canyon. The descent into the valley is quite difficult and dangerous - not everyone will dare to venture on this path. If you aren't frightened by the Devil's Valley and aren't a fan of banal tourism, then you should definitely come and discover the nature in Aktove Canyon.

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