Another day in Crimea 2014 – Vorontsov Palace and W. Churchill

27 Aug 2014 | Comments Off on Another day in Crimea 2014 – Vorontsov Palace and W. Churchill
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Another day in Crimea. We took a bus from Yalta and in 40 min arrived to the beautiful Vorontsov Palace and it’s munificent park. The palace was built for Count Michael Vorontsov in 1846 and it took 23 years to build.  The Palace is very interesting from an architectural design perspective and it’s history.

Interesting fact -the eminent architect who designed the Palace was Edward Blore, the same architect who designed parts of Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace and many other important buildings in England and Scotland.  Edward Blore designed the Voronsov Palace (another name is Alupka palace) without ever visiting the site in Russia. Another interesting fact -Winston Churchill and the British delegation stayed at the Vorontsov (Alupka) Palace during the Yalta Conference in 1945.  He gave a farewell dinner here.

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Its northern facade is a very grand late English Gothic style. This is contrasted by Moroccan architecture on the south side which faces the Black Sea.  To the west, the Palace looks like a European medieval castle.

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The Vorontsov  Palace’s  complex includes a library, central halls, holiday house, and an area for political meetings, assemblies. Throughout its history the palace perpetualy changed its owners. Three generations of the  Vorontsov family owned the Vorontsov palace, then in the Soviet Russia in 1921  the Vorontsov Palace was declared a museum. Now, the museum’s collection is over 11 thousand exhibits. Most valuable are the paintings by Russian artists of the XIX century and Western European masters XVI – XIX centuries, graphic works, sets of porcelain domestic production, clocks, wonderful vases of the rich French bronze.

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Churchill in Crimea

From 11 to 14 February 1945, the Yalta Conference took place in the neighbouring, former imperial Livadia Palace; this was between representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill and his British delegation were given temporary residence within the Vorontsov Palace. Within two weeks, construction workers had restored 22 rooms in the main palace, 23 rooms in the Shuvalov wing, and even replanted the palace gardens. The palace’s English-inspired architectural style gained praise from Churchill himself: Churchill was so taken by the garden’s Medici lions that he later asked Stalin if he could take them home; Stalin declined the request.

Churchill in Crimea

“The setting of our abode was impressive … Behind the villa, half Gothic and half Moorish in style, rose the mountains, covered in snow, culminating in the highest peak in the Crimea. Before us lay the dark expanse of the Black Sea, severe, but still agreeable and warm even at this time of the year. Carved white lions guarded the entrance to the house, and beyond the courtyard lay a fine park with sub-tropical plants and cypresses.”

— Winston Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War, Vol 6, 1953

One of the Medici lions so admired by Churchill.

Churchill in Crimea

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Nazi in Crimea

During the war, Adolf Hitler presented the palace as a reward to Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, who made it personal headquarters. This explains why the palace was so well preserved. The building was later converted into a museum for Wehrmacht officers stationed in and around Crimea. Originally, the Nazis had planned to dynamite the palace, but the rapid advance of the Separate Coastal Army and supporting Yalta partisan groups during the Crimean Offensive saved the palace from destruction. But the presents of Germans during the Second World War still could be seen in the palace’s park. There are many autographs left on the park’s rocks. Alexei spotted on of them.

Nazi in Crimea

Alexei liked waterfalls most of all :)

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But I preferred  huge rocks covered with moss. It made me feel being part of a fairy-tale :)

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Churchill in Crimea

Nazi in Crimea

Crimea Vorontsov park

Crimea Vorontsov park

Crimea Vorontsov park

Going to Crimea

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Crimea Vorontsov palace park

Crimea Vorontsov palace park

 

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Crimea Vorontsov palace park

Vorontsov palace park

 

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We bought some souvenirs here and went back to Yalta as we already had plans for tomorrow………..

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