Crimea’s Castles

After Sevastopol, we made stops in Yalta (to see the Livadia Palace and the Vorontsov Palace), Sudak (to see an ancient Genoese fortress), and lastly in Bakchisarai (to see the Khan’s Palace and the cave city of Chufut Kale). 

We started in Western Crimea at Sevastopol, and made our way east, to Yalta, Sudak (on the map its near Novy Svet)and then back to central Crimea to see Bakchisarai.

In Yalta, we spent a day touring palaces and castles on the coast of the Black Sea. Our first stop was Alupka, also known as the Vorontsov Palace. This palace is one of the oldest in Crimea, and also one of the most popular tourist attractions. Its most famous for being designed by the same architect as the Buckingham Palace, Edward Blore. Alupka is quite impressive, like nothing I’ve seen before in Ukraine.

Here’s our group: Michelle, Erin, me, Kristin, and Tori

The palace is located right on the coast of the Black Sea, with lots of nature everywhere that you can explore (this is a Ukrainian-English phrase, I hope you understand). This shot was taken from one of the trails we found!

This is the back of the Vorontsov Palace. 

Alupka Palace was originally built by a Russian prince, Mikhail Vorontsov, in the 19th century. In the 20th century the palace was nationalized and turned into a museum, until the Nazis overtook Crimea in World War II. By the end of the war, the Nazis had fled and the Allies had overtaken Crimea. The famous Yalta Conference was held at the neighboring Livadia Palace, but Winston Churchill and the British delegation stayed here at the Vorontsov Palace. 

Churchill is said to have remarked that this lion looked like him, and now its become a popular myth told about the Palace.

And here’s a sister shot : )

Here’s the famous Swallow’s Nest Castle, which looks impressive but is actually such a disappointment in real life. Its jokingly referred to as the “toy castle” because its so small in size (only 66 feet by 33 feet!). Today its a tourist trap with an overpriced Italian restaurant inside. Needless to say, a cool photo sufficed and we moved on 😛

Our last stop was at the Livadia Palace, which is most famous for hosting the Yalta Conference in 1945, to discuss post-war plans for Europe.

There was a museum with photos from the conference; this is one of the most famous, with the “big 3” posing for a rare photo; Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.

One of my favorite pictures of the day; Tori looking so cute next to a gargoyle at the Livadia Palace! We jokingly said the picture of the gargoyle was for our Dad 😉

After a day of touring castles, we went back to the apartment we rented and collapsed. I cooked dinner (you better believe it!), Michelle made a salad, and we plotted out the next journey of our tripto Sudak! Read on for one more post about Crimea, to hear about our stops in Sudak and Bakchisarai. 

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