“Crimea is an amazing treasury, a natural museum that keeps the secrets of millennia.” These are the words Alexander Griboedov devoted to Crimea. In fact we can do nothing but agree with him. Crimea is a picturesque peninsula jutting into the Black Sea. Since ancient times, when its history starts, the peninsula has always attracted people with its beauty and originality: excavations of ancient cities, ancient palaces of Russian aristocrats and Tatar rulers, house-museums of writers and artists, mountains and waterfalls.
It starts its history in ancient times, 50-40 b.c. Different nations have left here their traces, from the Scythians to the Greeks, from the Mongols to the Turks, and finally Slavs.
Scenic drive through the area of the Inner range of the Crimean mountains brings you to Bakhchisaray. This town with population of about 30 thousand was once the capital of the Crimean Tatar Khanate. Its name is translated as “the garden palace” and the actual nucleus of its historic center is palatial residence of the Gireys dynasty. These Khans ruled the Crimea between the 15th and 18th centuries and created magnificent architectural ensemble which contains Main Mosque, the Falcon Tower, the Palace of the Khans and some other buildings.
Short drive from Sevastopol brings you to the National Historical and Archeological Preserve of Chersonesus Taurica. It includes the Museum of Antique & Medieval history, exhibition of mosaics and archeological excavations of ancient theater, numerous basilicas and households of the town of Chersonesus, which preceded modern city of Sevastopol. Founded originally by Greeks in the 5-th century B.C. Khersones came to desolation after the raids of the nomads of the 13th – 14th centuries and was revived in the 19th century as a monument of archeology. Another place of importance is recently restored XIX century St. Vladimir Cathedral constructed not far from the place, where Prince Vladimir was baptized in 988 A.D. and then brought Christianity to the Kievan Rus.
Named after Alupka, the second town of the resort area of Greater Yalta, it is also often referred to as the Vorontsov Palace. The palatial building was constructed in glorious park in 1828-48 by the serfs of its first owner, Governor-General of New Russia Count Mikhail Vorontsov. The Englishman Edward Blor, the author of the castle of Walter Scott in Scotland, the court architect of the British crown, managed to integrate the palace building into the surrounding landscape. In the architecture of the Vorontsov Palace, Blor combined different styles - English, Neo-Moorish and Gothic, paying tribute to the secular fashion of that time on Walter Scott's novels and oriental tales.
For more than 50 years (1861–1917), the Livadian estate was the southern residence of three families of Russian tsars: Alexander ΙΙ, Alexander ΙΙΙ and Nikolai ΙΙ. The White Livadia Palace was built in 1911 instead of the old grand palace.
The rooms of the ground floor tell the story of Yalta Conference 1945, which brought together three leaders – Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. This is the venue of Yalta Conference 1945 where the destiny of Europe was decided, very place where the three leaders agreed to organize the San-Francisco conference in April 1945 where fifty nations determined to set up an organization of United Nations. During the conference the palace was the residence of American delegation headed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
"Swallow's Nest" is the first image that comes to the minds of millions of people thinking of the Crimean peninsula. A gray limestone building, similar to a medieval castle, hangs over the Black Sea at the top of the cliff Aurorina cliff of Cape Ai-Todor.
Known to everyone it’s a small castle on a cliff in the village of Gaspra, near Yalta, was built in 1911 by the architect A. Sherwood, commissioned by Baron F. Steingel. A well-known oil industrialist wanted to give his dacha the image of a knight’s castle and even gave the name “Generalif”, which means “castle of love”. However, this name did not take root. The architect built a summer cottage castle in the Gothic style, adding arched friezes, decorative turrets, battlement walls to the decoration of the facade.
Established in 1894, Massandra winery was once part of the enormous estate of Tsar Nicholas II and supplied exceptional wines to His Majesty's Imperial Court. Since then for more than 110 years it has been producing wines, which quality enjoys international fame and acknowledgment. Visit to the wine cellars of Massandra is a great chance to taste local versions of Madeiras, Sherries, Ports and especially astonishing Muscats and the other dessert wines.
All this splendor and diversity are combined and kept for centuries by the mysterious and vibrant Crimean peninsula. It combines picturesque views, indescribable nature and the antiquity of ancient traces of our ancestors’ life. As one glance is worth a thousand words, Crimea is worth it so that each person can discover for himself this mysterious peninsula and enjoy its gifts.