One Way to Do Yalta

On a recent P&O Azura cruise to the Black Sea we called at the Crimean Southern Ukrainian port of Yalta.

Continuing this blog 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…

http://sergoyalta.at.ua

From our initial contact with Sergey he proved outstanding in his helpfulness and, once I had indicated my order of preference, he produced a slick full day tour with a comprehensive 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 initially made a quick stop to view and photograph the Alexander Nevesky Cathedral…

The Cathedral is very walkable from the cruise ship dock and Sergey was keen that we saw it before the bulk of the days DIY tourists arrived .

We now headed out of town for what must be the showpiece of Yalta, The Livadia Palace…

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.

 

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, though it was the palace interior that is the great attraction.

 

Sergey did a grand job of negotiating an early entry, indeed a full hour and a few minutes before the Palace opened to the general public.

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…

 

The White Hall – Main Yalta Conference Table…

 

President Roosevelt’s Study…

There were many other rooms to see, not all made famous by the post war conference but by previous Romanov occupiers of the palace. Here we visited the  Private Study of Empress Alexander

 

…and that of the last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II…

 

…along with  many other fascinating and well preserved rooms in this amazingly preserved palace.

As we were about to depart Sergey pointed out to us the specially designed and cleverly disguised house, a short distance from the Palace, that housed two generators which supplied the palace’s power needs….

 

Next up was another jewel in Yalta’s tourist crown, The Swallow’s Nest…

 

Sergey was keen to show us (above) how it would be viewed, from the coach park,  had we been a part of a ship’s excursions.

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

 

 

*****

Indeed, from this commanding position we could just make out our cruise ship top left in the distance…

 

Well satisfied with our visit to The Swallow’s Nest we moved on to The Dulber Palace

 

The Dulber Palace was built in the Moorish Reviavalist style and was  the palace of the Grand Duke Peter Nicolaievich of Russia…

The real significance of this palace, Sergey explained to us, was that it was from here that  20 or so Romanov family members escaped the revolution with the aid of the British battleship, HMS Marlborough.

Sergey had deliberately slotted in the next palace as it had a significance to us Brits. It was the Alupka Palace…

…covered extensive grounds…

… and had been the residence of Winston Churchill during the 1945 Yalta Conference.

 

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

Two other palaces were included in our visit, visited  The Kitchkine Palace…

…the former palace of Grand Duke Dimitri Konstantinovich…

 

 

…and the very beautiful Massandra Palace…

…seem above from the approach and here…

…the rear garden aspect and part of the walled garden…

 

 

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

 

…which necessitated quite a steep climb to appreciate the place a little more…

*****

…including its knave…

 

We headed further out along the coast to see one of the most ornate religious buildings, the Church of St. Michael Archangel…

*****

…with its equally glorious interior…

*****

 

There were a number of  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…

 

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.

 

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One response to “One Way to Do Yalta

  1. Pingback: Azura’s black Sea Cruise | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

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