The area around Livadia on the Crimean peninsula is known for its rich history, and for the spectacular surrounding nature that has always inspired artists, poets, writers, and composers. Travelers from all over the world come here to admire the beautiful architecture of the Livadia Palace, to walk through the magnificent grounds of the surrounding park, and to experience the clean and healing sea air.
Until 1862, Livadia Palace was owned by Lev Pototsky, following which it was purchased by the Ministry of the Imperial Court and Palace Lands. At this time, Alexander Romanov II was on the throne. His wife, Maria Alexandrovna was seriously ill with tuberculosis, and it was recommended by her doctors that she would benefit from breathing the restorative sea air and walking in the pine forests. It was for this purpose that they acquired Livadia, and it became an imperial gift from the tsar for his sick wife, following which it became the family residence of the royal family. The palace has been rebuilt at least twice, but today it still retains its majesty, and one can imagine the life of the imperial family when admiring the luxurious decorations inside the palace and on the facades, which pays tribute to the skill of the architects who planned the construction.
History of Livadia. The construction of the imperial palace
Following its purchase, the Imperial family immediately hired the court architect Ippolit Monighetti for the construction. In total, more than 60 buildings were built in Livadia, including a water supply system with a capacity for 700 thousand buckets of water.
The second reconstruction of the palace occurred between 1910-1911, during the time of Nicholas II. The former palace was dilapidated, covered in fungus and completely uninhabitable. The emperor fell in love with the Renaissance architecture that he had encountered on an official visit to Spain with its intricate stucco molding, porticoes, and courtyards. The task for the reconstruction was given to the famous Yalta architect Nikolai Krasnov, and he managed to rebuild the Livadia Palace in only 16 months. From the previous architectural ensemble, only the Exaltation of the Cross Church with its incredible sky-blue and gold murals under the dome remained.
Krasnov himself wrote in his report: “Designed and executed in the style of the Italian Renaissance from Inkerman stone, with all parts carved from the same stone. The building has 116 separate rooms, three small light courtyards. The ceremonial official rooms of the palace are decorated and furnished in the same style, however all that is needed in the palace is all the technical achievements of the beginning of the 20th century, as well as new roads.”
Nicholas II owned the Livadia Palace until 1917, although the building retained the status of “official residence” under the Soviet Union as well.
Yalta Conference of 1945
Livadia Palace became even more famous as the setting for the Yalta Conference which was held between February 4 and 11, 1945 and attended by the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition. Joseph Stalin from the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill from the United Kingdom, and Franklin D. Roosevelt from the United States met in Yalta to decide the fate of Europe after the defeat of the Nazi Germany. At that time the palace housed an American delegation led by Roosevelt.
As a result of the Yalta Conference discussions the coalition created an “International United Organization for the Maintenance of Peace and Security”, today known as the UN (United Nations Organization). In 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the conference, a bronze monument of the “Big Three” (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) and weighing approximately 10 tons was erected near the palace. The monument was created by the prominent Georgian-Russian sculptor and architect Zurab Tsereteli who has also created a large number of monuments and sculptures in Moscow city.
There are several exhibits dedicated to different eras in and around the Livadia Palace and the adjoining park in Yalta:
- Italian and Arabic patios (courtyards) with trees planted more than a century ago;
- The rooms of the Emperor and Empress, including an office, bedroom, and reception rooms;
- Roosevelt and Churchill Memorial Library Cabinets;
- Large conference rooms with an exhibition dedicated to the events of 1945;
- The Holy Cross Exaltation Church designed by the architect Monighetti;
- The beautiful and well-maintained park spreading from the palace to the edge of the sea.
- Monument to Alexander III erected in 2017.
The latest addition to the park is a monument to the peacemaker Emperor Alexander III which was personally unveiled by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tsar Alexander III sits in military uniform on a stone, and on the pedestal is written: “Russia has only two allies – its army and navy.” The creator of the monument, the sculptor Andrei Kovalchuk, chose this imperial quote as the best proof that a successful state should be strong.
Address and Opening Hours
Yalta, Livadia settlement, st. Baturina street, house 44a
Every day in the summer season from 10-00 to 18-00. From October 1, Monday is a day off