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Guest Solent Richard

Visiting Yalta - What Can Be Achieved In A Day

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Guest Solent Richard

On a 24 night Azura cruise to the Black Sea last year 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...






.... before the bulk of the days DIY tourists arrived. The Cathedral is actually within easy walkable distance from where the crusie sships berth.

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. This is our guide Sergey with Mrs SR...







Livadia is often referred to as the White Palace...





Sergey ensured that we arrived at The Livadia Palace well before its general opening time and we took the opportunity to have a leisurely exploration of the grounds though the Palace interior and the photographic opportunities it would give was our main priority...






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 Yalta Conference 'Big Three' meeting room and round table





The White Hall - Main Yalta Conference Room




Sergey's knowledge of all the events surrounding the Yalta Conference was outstanding and we continued our tour around Lavadia Palace...


President Roosevelt's Study





...and moving on the Private Study of Empress Alexander...




...and that of  Emperor Nicholas II







...and many more fascinating rooms on both the ground and first floors of the Palace -  too many to show on this thread.


One interesting feature that  Sergey did show us as we departed the palace area, was the specially designed house, a short distance from the actual palace, that housed two diesel generators which supplied the palaces power needs....





Leaving the area of the Livadia Palace our next stop was to be another tourist jewel in Yalta's Crown, The Swallow's Nest. This is the view from the coach park used by the ship's excursion coaches...





Sergey, however, had a treat in store for us. Knowing the ropes he and arranged for a much closer inspection of this iconic building...






with the added benefit of photography from a whole new aspect...






We were more than well satisfied with that visit and so we moved on to another in the series of Romanov Palaces, the Dulber Palace...






...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.





...taking the trouble to point out the actual bedroom and balcony used by the great man...






Again, Sergey had all the facts and stories to hand including how British Intelligence discovered that the KGB had certain rooms bugged and the counter measures used by the United Kingdom.

Two other palaces visited included The kitchkine Palace...




built by the poorest of the Romanovs, and the  very beautiful Massandra Palace...






Continued due to limited image allowance....

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Guest Solent Richard

Yalta - What can Be Achieved In A Day - Continued....


In between visiting the Romanov Palaces Sergey made a small diversion to take us to see an unparalleled perfect beauty and experience the  silence around the Saint Michael the Archangel Church.  Enchanting, romantic and mysterious: a quite unique and ornate church, that of St. Michael Archangel...
















There were of course many other equally interesting places that Sergey took us to, including, 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...





We returned to the town of Yalta with a little time to spare. Sergey was keen to squeeze in as many sights as possible and he certainly did. Towering above the town is a most fitting memorial, and tribute to the memory of not only the heroes of the Great Patriotic War but of the fighters for Soviet Power in the years of the Revolution and the Civilian War (1917-1920).





Sergey's video accurately shows the position and a panoramic view...





Our final stop before returning to our ship was to visit the Armenian Church which ranks among the architectural sights of Yalta. Constructed by the architect Gabo Ter-Mikelov  in the style of the Armenian national architecture of early Middle Ages and again, commanding a grand position overlooking the town...













This is possibly the first and last view that cruise passengers will see of Yalta...





The immediate area near the cruise jetty is typical of a port area and there is just so much more to see,  both historical and cultural, by getting out and about. I hope I have illustrated just what is possible, whether it be by private guide or ship's excursion. 



Words and pictures cannot alone express 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.





Thanks Sergey - Barbara loved the aftershave as well.

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