Great Yalta (Yalta and the Surrounding area)
Yalta, Massandra, Nikita
Yalta is the most famous city in Crimea, one of the most scenic and beautiful cities of the Ukraine. After receiving the status of a town in 1838, it has made a remarkable transformation from a small fishing village into a popular, fashionable, and elite health resort.
The very heart of Yalta is the Embankment, lined by palm trees, with numerous bars, cafes and restaurants along its length. The architecture of its buildings is an incredible combination of ingenious styles.
The Roman Catholic Church on the banks of the Uchan-su River was built in 1914. Its architects were Komornitski and Krasnov. The Armenian Church is of equal interest, as well as a number of smart orthodox temples, in particular, the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevski .. This contains a beautiful mosaic by the artist Salviati, who also decorated many other famous buildings in Europe, for example, the parliament in London.
The architect Tarasov designed the former Emir's of Bukhara's palace. It was constructed in Yalta between 1907 and 1911 in a moresque style.
The Yalta Reserve was established to protect the mountain forests that supply the fresh curative air to this part of the coastline. Seven kilometres from Yalta, on the left of the main road, a path leads to the bottom of the Uchan-su Waterfall (the name means “ Flying Water ” ), the highest waterfall in the Crimea. Water tumbles down from a height of around 100 meters, and the falls are particularly potent following periods of melting mountain snow, or heavy rain storms. At other times the flow can become little more than a trickle.
“ The Fairytale Glade ” (phone: 39-64-02), situated at the foot of the picturesque Stavri-Kaya mountain, is a museum containing attractive sculptures and flora studies. Also here is a zoo “ Skazka ” .
In Upper Massandra, the palace of the Emperor Alexander III is located, a fascinating, fairytale like place. In Soviet times it was used as summerhouse by the authorities, so not very many people knew of its existence. Now it is a popular tourist attraction. (phone: 32-17-28).
The “ Massandra ” wine cellars (phones: 35-31-73, 35-02-47) and the “ Magarach ” Institute of Viticulture and Wine making enjoy worldwide popularity. They are excellent place to go and taste the fine wines produced there, and to enjoy the surroundings.
The Nikita Botanical Gardens (phone: 33-54-68) were founded in 1812. Amongst all the parks of the southern coast, these are the ones that best bring together the nature, history, art and science of the region, and are rightfully the best known and most popular of them. Their collection includes more than twenty eight thousand plants from all over of the world. There is also a little patch of untouched nature - the Cape Martyan Reserve .
In Nikita, besides the Nikita Gardens, the Nikita Crevice is worth seeing. It is located besides the main road, a romantic gorge of reddish chalk stone precipices and stunning vegetation. Its has been used by film makers for numerous adventure and fantasy movies.
Livadia, Oreanda, the Swallow's Nest
West of Yalta are a succession of excellent parks and beach resorts. It feels like a kind of country settlement, consisting of palaces and castles whose luxury has been set by their creators' imagination and taste.
In 1834, Count Pototski purchased Livadia. He had a house built for him here and a grand park was laid out for his use. In 1860, the Province Department acquired Livadia for the Emperor's family. Already by that time, the Romanovs possessed the “ Oreanda ” Manor, with its palace and park.
For 60 years Livadia was used as the summer residence of the Russian Emperors Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. Livadia's Great White Palace was constructed between 1910 and 1911, following the design of the architect N. P. Krasnov. It was here in February 1945, that the governmental heads of the three allied powers -USSR, USA and Great Britain - held the Crimean Conference . Along with decisions about Germany's future and settlement of the other European nations, the leaders decided on the creation of the United Nations Organization. The Livadia Museum (phone: 31-55-79) is one of the most popular attractions. Apart from the main exhibitions, other temporary ones are present as well.
The “ Oreanda Lower ” health resort was constructed in 1948 to the design of the outstanding Soviet architect, Professor M. Ya. Ginsburg, and became the main vacation place of the Political Bureau of the CPSU. Next to it, an architectural monument stands, the Temple of Virgin's Protection . It was constructed in 1885 in a Georgian-Byzantine style following the design of the architect, and academician, A. A. Avdeyev.
The romantic "Swallow's Nest ” castle perched on the Avrora cliffs of Cape Ai-Todor, dominates the surrounding coastline. It was constructed in 1912 from the designs of architect A. V. Sherwood for Baron Von Shteingel, a Baku oilman. In 1901 - 1902 L N. Tolstoi and A. M. Gorki frequented Oreanda. Here the marine artist I. K. Aivazovski painted Yalta.
The “ Oreanda Lower ” has had a number of famous visitors, including the father of the Soviet nuclear bomb I. V. Kurchatov , the head of space exploration program S. P. Korolyov , plus some foreigners, like the singer Paul Robson, and the cartoonist Herluf Bidstrup.
The guides and guide books say nothing about the visits of Leonid llyich Brezhnev . He used drive round the Crimean hair pin bends in a car with darkened windows, shocking his own guards. He was a worthy “ inheritor ” of the Emperor's hunting premises in Crimea.
Gurzuf is a comparatively large resort town. Right behind the famous Bear Mountain, below the main highway, stretches out the housing blocks, parks and beaches of the “ Artek ” International Children's Centre. Also noteworthy are the picturesque facades of Gurzuf's houses.
The town is surrounded by vineyards, where the famous muscadines grape vines can be seen.
Around 1808 - 1811, when A. E. du Plessis, the Duke de' Richelieu (of the famous Cardinal's family) built a spacious villa here, plus laid out an exotic park around it, Gurzuf has been a favourite place for recreation, artistic works, and meeting place for the educated Russian elite.
Modern times have brought cosmonauts and other types of military figures to Gurzuf, as well as personalities from the Moscow and St Petersburg cinema and television industries, plus various artists, writers, and actors.
The International Children's Centre Artek, the “ Ayu-Dag ” Holiday House (it was built for the Komsomol Central Committee), and the “ Sputnik ” Youth Centre (now it is the “ Gurzuf ” Holiday House) have become traditional places of international youth forums, festivals and competitions.
It is thus not surprising that here the Euro-Asian office of the World Scouts' Movement has been established here.
The ruins of the Genoa Stronghold, which dates between the 11th and 15th centuries, and the impressive medieval tunnel through the rock to the sea both attract visitors. It was the Byzantines who first erected a fortress here, in the 6 th century.
The houses of the “ Gurzufsky ” health resort are a remarkable testament of the Russian businessman P. I. Gubonin , who used the Bakhchsarai Palace style, combining it with traditions of Russian wooden architecture and antique motives. The attractive park is interesting not only for its exotic plants, but also for its fountains, of which the “ Night ” Fountain stands out the most. This fountain is a copy of a sculpture by the German professor, Berger.
The former summer cottage „ Salambo “ contains a studio used by the Russian artist Konstantin Korovin (now a house for creative art) and is open to visitors.
Ayu-Dag - Mt Medved, is host to some of the greatest plant formations in Crimea, and as such is a botanical resource, as well as a having archaeological monuments from the early Christian period. The large mountain ' s silhouette, as seen from the Gurzuf's side, makes a romantic partner to the Adalar Islands and the bizarre coastal cliffs. Here, due to the rocksand their underwater inhabitants, the water isexceptionally pure and transparent. Close to the cliffs is the small summercottage of the writer Anton Chekhov .
In Gurzuf many things are associated with the name of the A. S. Pushkin . Notable is the Pushkin Grotto amidst the coastal cliffs. Both critics and connoisseurs of Pushkin's creations are welcomed at the Pushkin Museum (phone: 36-38-76), the former house of Duke Richelieu. In 1820, General Rayevski's family, in whose hospitable circle the great poet spent, rented the house. Pushkin himself said, the these were “ the happiest days of his life ” ,
In July you can easily meet more modern stars, like film directors, TV hosts, and actors from film, stage and circus, at the International Children's Film Festival in Artek (phone: 36-30-80).
In Artek, children can make friends with real cosmonauts. The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonautics Museum is situated in the Suuk-su Palace. The heroes of space have given many of their original belongings to the collections. Also interesting are the Artek History Museum and the “ Suuk-Su ” Casino, which was frequented by a lot of celebrities before the Russian revolution of 1917.
Miskhor, Koreiz, Gaspra
Long ago, these three medieval boroughs some 12 km west of Yalta merged into a single town.
Miskhor is is the warmest place in the Crimea, and has the mildest winter. Thus its local parks are especially magnificent. Amidst their leafy trees, are scattered an odd collection of villas and palaces, resembling feudal castles of the middle Ages. Russians Princes invited European architects to construct them.
The climate of Gaspra and Koreiz is very dry, due to the closeness to the mountains, and their air is said to be good for the lungs.
The largest manor is Princess A. S. Golitsyna's estate. L. A. Naryshkin's “ Sofiyevka ” manor is also known as “ Alupka Minor ” . In Gaspra, the romantic “ Alexandria ” Manor of Prince A. N. Golitsyn (a friend of Alexander I) is worth a visit. It is now where the “ Yasnaya Polyana ” holiday home is situated.
The “ Kichkine ” Palace (from the Persian word for a baby) was built between 1908 and 1911 on Cape Ai-Todor in Gaspra.
Grand Prince Pyotr Nikolayevich built the “ Dulber ” (from the Persian word for fine) Palace in Koreiz between 1895 and1897 from N. P. Krasnov's design. It has more than a hundred rooms and halls, and the finely carved stone inserts and mosaic compositions on the walls seems to have been influenced by Arabian Egypt of the 15th century.
On the Miskhor beach many generations of visitors have admired the sculptures along it. These included the bronze “ Water-Nymph ” emerging from the sea with her child in her arms. On the quay is a fountain called “ Arzy Girl and Ali-Babathe Robber ” .
The legend tells of a beautiful girl called Arzy who was kidnapped by Ali-Baba the Robber, and then sold into the Turkish Sultan's harem, only to return to her native home as a mermaid.
Many people love to be at the modern colour-music fountain during the evenings. In addition, a remarkable structure built in recent years is the cable car track on Ai-Petri Mountain .
Koreiz was a property of one of the richest persons in Russia, Prince Yusupoff . Yusupoff junior is best known as Rasputin`s murderer.
In February 1945, during the Yalta (Crimean) Conference of the heads of the three great powers, the Soviet governmental delegation stayed at the Koreiz Palace.
This town is placed 17 kilometres west of Yalta. Its palaces, villas, medical and housing blocks, are blessed with ever green parks, and face the gentle sea. On the northern side, it is protected against cold winds by Ai-Petri's gigantic wall. For 200 years this place has been well known for curing the most severe illnesses, such as tuberculosis and lung diseases. The famous palace and park are a major excursion centre.
In the 19th century, only the top aristocracy were permitted to take their holidays in this small town, but from 1900 modest summer cottages started to appear. Those that used to stay here set the democratic and cheery style of the other local resort towns. The students of the St. Petersburg arts academy, named after I. Repin, brought the spirit of youth and mischief into this place.
In the 1820s a large estate was constructed in Alupka by Count M. S. Vorontsov. The palace contained in it is a brilliantly combination of English and Moslem architectural styles, and is surrounded by a magnificent park and extensive lands. The English architect Edward Bloor designed the palace, and the German gardener Karl Kebach supervised the laying out of the park. The place is now known as the “ Vorontsov Palace ” Reserve (phone: 72-23-72).
Later the town centre was replaced with numerous cottages. In 1902 Professor A. A. Bobrov built the first sanatorium for children.
Upon visiting the Vorontsov Palace during the Yalta conference, W. Churchill commented, “ in remote Russia, a feeling of the old England", and Jawaharlal Nehru had the feeling of the Great Moguls' of India.
People in Alupka are proud of one of their citizens whose bust is placed at the park entrance. During World War II, double Hero of the Soviet Union, fighter pilot Amet-Khan Sultan personally shot down 49 enemy planes in dog fights. After the war, he test flew more than 100 planes, and in 1961 received the Merited Pilot-Verifier title and was the instructor of the first Soviet cosmonauts.
Simeiz, Goluboj Zaliv, Katsiveli
The resort town of Simeiz is approximately 15 km along the main road west of Yalta. It is surrounded by strange looking mountains and cliffs that keep its climate dry and warm.
The clear skies, and dry clear air of Simieiz have attracted astronomers and space explorers. The experimental laser station for observing man made satellites that circle the earth is located here as a component of the “ lnterspace ” System . Below its white calottes the parabolic antenna can be seen. In October 1959, for the first time in human history, it was used to receive the picture of the dark side of the moon, which was transmitted by the Soviet interplanetary “Luna - 3” satellite. Its unique instrumentation is also used to study the Sun.
On top of Mount Koshka (the Cat), was a settlement and large necropolis of the Tauri, the most ancient among the people of the Eastern European coastline. Mount Koshka is accompanied by Diva and Monakh cliffs, about which quite a lot of legends have been written.
Since 1828 the rich industrialist, I. A. Maltsov, acquired land here for his vacations and economic activities. His son developed the family business, producing in Russia the first steam locomotives and ships, and later crystal ware. On the greater part of the land were vineyards, fruit gardens, and olive plantations. In 1828, a wine cellar was build that still remains today. In the 1850s, close to the anglers' quay, a large house was erected and girdled with a glass gallery, “ The Crystal Palace ” . Maltsov's grandsons help Simeiz to become a fashionable health resort. By presenting to the astronomers of the Pulkovo observatory in 1908, a telescope to be mounted on Mt Koshka, the Maltsovs became the first people to open the Crimean to space.
Nowadays the “ Xenia ” Villa, constructed in the Gothic style in 1911 by the Yalta architect N. P. Krasnov, attracts young people. The villa is believed to be inhabited by ghosts. All the palaces and villas are surrounded by old parks with hundreds of varieties of exotic and valuable plants. The curative air here is prescribed by physicians for many ailments.
In Katsiveli village, the radio astronomy department of the Crimean astrophysical observatory is located. It is equipped with a radio telescope that has a parabolic antenna 22 meters in diameter. Near by you can see the storm pool of the Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Ukraine Science Academy. In addition, the helio-engineering base of the Science Academy Institute of Technology of Materials is situated here.
Until 1910 the renowned painter A. I. Kuinji lived in Katsiveli. After his death, the house was handed over to the Young Artists' Society. On Kuinji's well known painting “ The Night in Crimea ” you can recognize this bay here.
Between Simeiz and Kat in a picturesque evergreen grove the large aquapark "Goluboj Zaliv (the Blue gulf)" is located.
To The West of Yalta (Parkovoye. Foros)
Nature itself created these resort settlements, that are used for the private recreation of high-ranking persons. Impassable cliffs and evergreen parks hide old palaces, ultra-modern official cottages, and exceptionally pure, deserted beaches. Antennas, official plaques, and special check-points are everywhere.
These places have become part of history due to the presence of the “ Zarya ” villa where the former president of the USSR M. S. Gorbachev was held during the August putsch in 1991.
Such facilities for the elite only started to develop here in recent decades, following the construction of the excellent mountain road between Yalta and Simferopol. Since thebeginning of the 19th century, only sparse summer cottages were located here, used by artists and thinkers looking for seclusion.
In Parkovoye there are some remnants of the works of the sculptor A. T. Matveyev , a member of the “ Blue Rose ” group. Between 1905 and 1912 an exotic park, decorated with romantic “ ruins ” , small bridges, fountains and sculptures was laid out.
The Iphigenia Cliff is the remnants of an ancient volcano. It invokes more emotions when you think of human offerings to Deva, the Touri's goddess. This classical tragedy “ lphigenia in Tauris ” has been staged for the last three thousand years at many of the theatres of the world.
The Shaitan-Merdven Pass has been used since ancient times, for passing between the Southern coastal regions and the foothills of Crimea. This gorge contains forty bends along its one kilometre length.
Until recently Foros Park was accessible only to the top Communist-Party functionaries. Especially popular is “ The Paradise Nook ” , where six miniature lakes, and an equal number of small waterfalls, form an integrated attraction.
From both the seashore and the mountains, the graceful church of Revival of Christ can be seen perched on a lonely rock. In 1892 the architect N.M.Chagin constructed the temple to the order of the merchant Kuznetsov, owner of Foros. The Bajdar Gate was built in 1848 to honour the end of construction of the Sevastopol to Yalta road.
Published on: 04/09/2005
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