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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Alexei liked waterfalls most of all
But I preferred huge rocks covered with moss. It made me feel being part of a fairy-tale
We bought some souvenirs here and went back to Yalta as we already had plans for tomorrow………..