The Crimean Peninsula , also known simply as Crimea, is a major land mass on the northern coast of the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. The peninsula is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson and west of the Russian region of Kuban. It is surrounded by two seas: the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is connected to Kherson by the Isthmus of Perekop and is separated from Kuban by the Strait of Kerch. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast; a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Crimea—or the Tauric Peninsula, as it was formerly known—has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the ancient Greeks, the ancient Persians, the ancient Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Genoese and the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time its interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century before falling to the Russian Empire and being included into the Russian Taurida Governorate in 1802.