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 Travelogues

Name

Location of Yalta
Yalta

Ялта (Yalta). The name is the same in Ukrainian and Russian. Legends say that Yalta was founded by the ancient Greeks, the name itself probably means something like "seashore". Until the 15th century, the town was rather known as Yalita.

Location

Yalta is a small town at the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula (more about Crimea under →Simferopol). The town is sandwiched between a high mountain range in the north and the sea in the south - thanks to those mountains, the climate is considerably more moderate, if not even subtropical.

Yalta
The Livadia palace - here, the famous Yalta
conference took place in 1945

Population

Yalta has around 80,000 inhabitants

History

Yalta is worldwide famous for some reasons. As there are a spectacular scenery and almost subtropical climate. Not to forget the historic Yalta conference in 1945, during which a good deal of postwar Germany's fate was decided (more see below). All rulers appreciated the lovely surroundings of Yalta - first the Tsar and his family, next communist leaders and today the Ukrainian government. They all frequented the place and made Yalta a chic holiday resort.

Getting there / transportation

There's no train to Yalta. The small town is around 80 km away from →Simferopol, the main gateway to the Crimea. From there, a trolley bus takes you all the way to Yalta. This is the world's longest trolley bus route! Sounds spectacular, but it isn't. As a matter of fact, it's just damn slow. The bus starts in front of the train station in Simferopol and needs more than 2½ hours to cover the distance. The fare is 7 Grivna only. However, the bus doesn't go to the centre of Yalta but to another bus terminal outside the city. From there, trolley bus No.1 will take you to the centre. It's faster to take the microbus from Simferopol - it takes less than 2 hrs, the fare is 9 Grivna. It starts at the train station as well.

 

 

The centre of town is quite small and everything is within walking distance. Yalta is only one of many holiday resorts lining up along the southern coastline. Many famous playwrights and poets visited and praised the place - among them Dostoyevski, Mark Twain, Pushkin, Chekhov just to name but a few. The latter lived in Yalta for a long time. His house is now used as a museum showing Chekhov's life.

Yalta
View of the centre of town and the surrounding
mountains from the balcony of Hotel Krim (Crimea)

Пл. Ленина (Pl. Lenina)

Lenin square is right in the middle of town and impresses with its big Lenin monument. There's a McDonalds (it could have been such a nice place without...) between the square and a small harbour next to the centre. There, a vibrant and beautiful waterfront promenade stretches to the west with countless (and not always recommendable) restaurants and a fairground lining up among all the palm trees. The centre lacks the usual dull concrete apartment blocks. Instead of that, there's a lot of green and much space, and so it's fun to stroll around.

Ласточкино Гнездо (Lastochkino Gnesdo)

The landmark of the southern Crimean coast is definitely the so-called Swallow's Nest, a miniature castle built in a very exposed position. The castle imitates the gothic style of castles lining up along the Rhine river in Germany. Actually it's neither an architectural nor a historic highlight, it's just about the location. Swallow's nest towers 40 meters above the sea atop a cliff at the tip of Cape Myis Ai-Todor. It was built in 1911/12 by the German Baron von Stengel, an oil magnate living in Baku. The castle was allegedly presented to the Baron's mistress. Today, the castle is occupied by a luxurious restaurant, but it's possbile to enter without ordering. Admission fee is 2 Grivna. Swallow's nest is not far away from Yalta - it's easy to get there with marshrutkas (shared taxi) 27 and 32 from the marshrutka terminal in the centre of Yalta opposite the Lenin square. Tell the driver where you want to get out. When you get out, walk left, not right!!! The swallow's nest is some kind of a must-see in the area.

Swallow's nest near Yalta
The Swallow's nest towering the Black Sea

Ливадийский Дворец (Livadiiskii Dvorez)

Even if the Yalta conference wouldn't have taken place - the Livadia-Palace near Yalta would still be worth a visit, since it's a magnificient place. Livadia is one of the 'suburbs' of Yalta nestling snugly at the foot of the Crimean mountain range. The Black Sea coast isn't far either. The Tsars of Russia knew exactly about the value of the place, and so Tsar Nikolai II. decided to build his summer residence in 1911 in Livadia - coincidentally the same year the Swallow's nest was erected. The architecture of the palace itself, the surrounding garden and the interior are extraordinarely beautiful and stir the wish to be a Tsar. Many rooms remained unchanged after the Tsar's reign and contain a lot of old furniture and pictures of the royal family.

Livadia-Palace
Conference room inside Livadia palace

Other rooms are dedicated to the famous Yalta conference, which started at 4 Feb 1945 and took about one week. Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt discussed postwar Germany's fate as well as the future development of Eastern Europe and Russia's role in the ongoing war against Japan - as one of the results, Japan lost the southern Kuril islandes.

The palace is quite big but well-hidden between other villas and lots of green. Marshrutka (shared taxi) #27 and #32 stop near Livadia palace on their way to Alupka and Swallow's nest. You won't see the palace from the microbus stop, so it's better to ask someone. Admission fee is 10 Grivna, photo permit costs a hair-raising 25 Grivna. The hall on the picture to the right was the one and only room without a supervisor (maybe he or she was ill!?), so without a photo permit you won't get a chance to take a picture of the interior. The palace closes at 5 pm.

 

 

We do not stay very often in hotels right at the central square. In Yalta, we did - partially because of a sleepless night before that, but also because it was a good bargain. Hotel Krim at Lenin Square charged 140 UAH (around € 24) for a suite - all double rooms were already taken. It's a very nice hotel in the centre of town with a view on the Sea, the mountains and the centre. Incl. a large balcony and friendly staff. Address:
Hotel Krim
Ul. Moskovskaya 1/6
Tel.:(0654)-271701

 

  • www.yalta.com.ua/yalta_engl/ Commercial website about Yalta - not very extensive, but still with some useful information about the town and other resorts along the Southern Crimea.

Do you have or do you know a good website about Yalta? Don't hesitate, let me know! After checking it, I would love to add it to the link list. You can submit a link by using the →contact form. Note that commercial websites will be treated differently.

 

 

 

 

 

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