One Way to Do Yalta

On our recent Azura cruise to the Black Sea we called at the Crimean Southern Ukrainian port of Yalta.

Continuing my series of ‘One way to do…’ this thread offers the experience that my wife and I had while visiting this famous and historic town, which remains an important holiday resort and an iconic symbol of Russian, Ukrainian and international history.

Due to the importance we placed on this visit we decided to book a local tour guide and following some internet research settled for the impressive Sergey Tsarapora. Here is a link to his website which I used for my research…

From initial contact with Sergey he proved outstanding in his helpfulness and, once I had indicated my order of preference, he produced a comprehensive, slick and full tour programme for us.

Azura was the only cruise ship visiting Yalta the day of our visit. My wife and I were first off Azura and Sergey was waiting for us, despite us being some 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We headed for what must be the showpiece of Yalta, The Livadia Palace, but first making a quick stop to view and photograph the Alexander Nevesky Cathedral…
Alexander Nevesky Cathedral 3

…. before the bulk of the days DIY tourists arrived – the Cathedral is very walkable.

The Livadia Palace was the famous residence of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II. It is more well known as being the venue for the Yalta Conference in 1945 where Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin outlined the future of post war Europe. Built in 1911 from white Inkerman stone Livadia is often referred to as the White Palace…
Livadia entrance Barbara and Sergey

Livadia Palace exterior

Having ensured that we arrived at The Livadia Palace well before its general opening time, Sergey took the opportunity to give us a leisurely exploration of the grounds, but the interior was to be our main aim…

Livadia entrance notice

Sergey did a grand job of negotiating an early entry, indeed one full hour and a few minutes before the Palace opened to the general public time. This was very important and gave us the opportunity to photograph the various rooms of interest unhindered by too many tourists…

The Big Three Meeting Room and Table
Livadia Palace Conference round table

The White Hall – Main Yalta Conference Table

Livadia Palace White Hall main Conference room

President Roosevelt’s Study
Livadia Palace Roosevelt's Study

…and moving on the Private Study of Empress Alexander

Livadia Palace Private Study of Empress Alexandra

…and Emperor Nicholas II

Livadia Palace Private Study of Nicholasr

…and many more fascinating and well preserved rooms, far too many to show on a broader visit thread
What Sergey did show us as we departed the the area, and well illustrated the was the specially designed house, a short distance from the actual palace, that housed two generators which supplied the palaces power needs….

Livadia Palace original Diesel generator house.

Our next stop was to be another jewel in Yalta’s tourist crown, The Swallow’s Nest firstly illustrated as it would be viewed by most ship’s excursions…

Swallow's Nest excursion view

Fortunately, Sergey was well up to the task and had arranged for a much closer inspection of this iconic Yalta building…

Swallow's Nest close up Barbara and Sergey

Richard above the Swallow's Nest

Well satisfied with that visit we moved on to The Dulber Palace

Dulber palace external 1

…where Sergey explained the significance of the escape of 20 or so Romanov family members with the aid of the British battleship, HMS Marlborough.

No visit to Yalta by a UK National would be complete without visiting the Alupka Palace. This was the residence of Winston Churchill during the 1945 Yalta Conference.

Alupka palace front facade 3

Again, Sergey had all the facts and stories to hand including how British Intelligence discovered that the KGB had certain rooms bugged.

Two other palaces visited included The kitchkine Palace…

Kitchkine Palace built by the poorest Romanov Cousin

…and the very beautiful Massandra Palace…

Massandra Palace front aspect 2

Other places of local interest that sergey managed to squeeze in on the day was Yalta’s Armenian Church…

Armenian Church external 2

and the most ornate Church of St. Michael Archangel…

St Michael Archangel Church 3

There were of course many other equally interesting places that Sergey took us to, including Memorial Hill, the Anton Chekov House Museum, Charax Palace and the preferred local residence of Joseph Stalin, The Yusapov Palace, now overlooked by the golden statue of Lenin…

Watching over you Lenin Statue over Yusapov Palace

Words and pictures cannot alone express the what an amazing visit we had to Yalta and full credit for that must go to Sergey. The guy was both amazing and enthusiastic.Not a bad fitness level either, he kept pace with me when time was running short and I sprinted up the steps to the Armenian Church.

Sergey charges $40.00 an hour plus entrance fees where applicable. Our day with him came to $371.00 and was worth every cent.

Anyone considering visiting Yalta in the future will be well advised to consider Sergey and his outstanding tours company.

Crimea Yalta Sevastopol Tour – Home Page

Thanks Sergey – nice aftershave as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.