Yalta is nestled against the mountains at the southern end of the Crimean peninsula. The sparkling golden onion domes of the Nevsky Cathedral peak through the pines over the colorful beach resorts. At the port McDonald’s golden arches and Lenin’s statue sit uncomfortably side-by-side. The Palace Tour is the most popular because it combines history with fantasy; and French, Italian, Islamic and English architectural styles with dramatic sea views and gardens.
The first important palace in the area was the Alupka Palace built by Prince Vorontsov in an interesting mix Islamic and English styles. The north side looks like an English or Scottish Manor, while the south entrance facing the Black see combines Gothic elements with Islamic ornamentation. Venetian lions guard this entrance. And beautiful hillside gardens end the tour. The prince was married to young Elizabeth whose affair with Pushkin caused the writer considerable trouble.
The Livadia Palace was the last built by Nicholas II before the World War and the October Revolution. Upstairs are remnants of the leisurely and oblivious lifestyle of the royal family, including many pictures of the large family and their retinue. The ground floor is mainly devoted to the famous Yalta conference where Stalin, Churchill and FDR hammered out terms that lead to the post war map of Europe.
The Swallows Nest is a tiny palace built on a cliff and one of the favorite picture taking locations in the Black Sea.
The Massandra Palace is up the hill from the port and the center of a vineyard that produces some of the finest sweet wines and fortified wines in all of Russia. The house was built by the Prince Vorontsov’s son and the family kept a collection of wines there which is one of the finest anywhere. The home is in the style of a Loire chateau.
For more information about Yalta go to www.cruiseportatlas.com/Ports/YLT-port.htm
For picture of Yalta go to www.flickr.com/photos/72746900@N08/sets/
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