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Excursions

Yalta

Livadia PalaceNot many places in the world can meet the demanding geographical, climatic and landjcape requirements of a health resort. Yalta is one of them.

Here, in the very centre of the southern coast of the Crimea, the Most High create a harmony helping to restore one's health and strength, filling soul with joy and peace.

Yalta nestles in a spacious, magnificent amphitheatre of mountains, flanked on the west by the cone of Mount Moghabi (810 meters above sea level), and on the east - by the spur of the Nikita Yaila. The Yalta bay gracefully accentuates the mountains.
The scenic forested mountains semicircle the city, as if sheltering it with huge hands from cold winds, and therefore, the climate here is as agreeable as it is in the famous Mediterranean resorts of Italy, France, Spain.
An annual average air temperature in Yalta is +13 degrees Centigrade, and in winter it never goes below +4 degrees, whereas a summer temperature in July reaches +24 degrees.
But the heat in Yalta is not tiring: on summer days, the air is refreshed by sea breezes, while during nights, mountain soft winds, filled with fragrance of woods and herbs, go clown towards the coast.

 

Yalta is assumed to be founded, like many other Crimean settlements, by Greek colonosts, and they also gave its a name -"Yalta", after the Greek "yalos", meaning shore.
A small fishing hamlet in those times, the first references to Yalta are found in written sources of the 12th century. Ibn-lidrizi, an Arabian geographer, the first one to mention it, calls it the Byzantine town of Dzhalita. Since the 14th century, Yalta has appeared on the geographical maps, though under different names - Dzhalita, Kallita, Hetalita.
In the Middle Ages, Yalta belonged to Genoese, whose consul stayed in the South Coast. In the year 1475 the Turks seized the Crimea, and the South Coast, Yalta including, became the crown property of the Turkish sultan.

Under the Turkish rule local Christians were in every way oppressed. The late 17th century sees the beginning of a stubborn almost 100-year struggle between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. This struggle, particularly bitter in the second half of the 18th century, ended in the victory ot the Russia's Army. This was a hard period in the South Coast history and it lasted up to 1783, when Russia annexed the Crimea.
P. Sumarokov, a Russian writer, travelling around the Crimea in 1771, saw a small settlement on the place of Yalta. "There are still ruins ot churches, mosques and houses to be seen in it", he wrote. "It is covered with good
orchards and is an entrance to charming places". In 5 years, Sumarokov again comes on a visit to Yalta and writes: "...Now Yalta is confined within thirteen meagre houses...". It remained the same tinv hamlet for about twenty years more.

 

In the late 18th - early 19th centuries, the town occupied the Polikurovsky Hill. And it is from here that Yalta started spreading out. The hill's name itself, Polikur - Palekur - Paleohor, in Greek "an old place", testifies to it. Now it houses a part or the Massandra Park, a cosy recreation area around the Yalta Hotel. The hill continues further as a small, jutting out to the sea, promontory, formerly named after Saint John, which, in tact, forms the ancient Yalta natural bay. Yalta is the only port of the southern coast, capable of providing a shelter to the sea vessels during sea storms. The construction of the Yalta pier was supervised by A. Bertier-Delagarde, a talented engineer and no less talented Crimean historian and archaeologist. He was a person in love with the Crimea, one of the founders of the Crimea's Mountaineering Club and Yalta Regional Museum.
Changing for the hetterand and resettling in Yalta and its surroundings started in the first half of the 19th century, after the in-rush of the Russian aristocracy, attracted by the beauty and wealth of the coast.
New large estates - Oreanda, Alupka, Livadia, Gaspra, Magaratch - started to spring up around Yalta and their new owners and residents were landlords and well-off people.
In 1833, when Emperor Niholas I came to the Crimea, Yalta on his order was designated the status of a town.
One of the first constructions of the future town was the Cathedral of John Zlatoust (Hrisostom), built to the design of architect Torichelli and consecrated in 1837. Its building was heavily damaged in the WWII years, but it has been restored and now together with an ancient belfry adorns Yalta. A powerful push was given to the development of Yalta, when in 1861 the Imperial family bought the estate Livadia, three kilometres off Yalta.
This was followed by annual visits of the Emperor, Empress, their children and their guests to Livadia which could not but make Yalta a most attractive spot to the rich and noble families of Russia.
Yalta turned into a fashionable aristocratic resort, the hub of recreational construction works: next to it were being built such palaces, as Charax Palace, Ai-Todor, Kichkine, Dyulber, the Yusupov Palace in Koreiz and others.

Yalta has always been a magnet for writers and poets, musicians and artists, a source of inspiration for them. In different times, it was visited by the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, the outstanding composer Sergei Rachmaninov, the superb artist Isaac Levitan, the Russian actor Michael Shchepkin, they all came here to have a rest and get treatment. For a number of years Yalta had been a summer residence - dacha - for Anton Chekhov, and now Chekhov's House-Museum is one of Yalta's museums. In the Soviet time, Yalta was a favorite recreation
spot for the government elite of the country, Nikita Khrushchov, Leonid Brezhnev and their families came here very often.
Yalta is a stunning city, every season of the year bringing out new assets of its beauty. It is pleasant to stay here not only in summer, but in early spring or in autumn, its "velvet season", as well. Lots of foreign men of letters and artistic figures came to see it. Thus, in the summer of 1867 in Yalta turned up Samuel Clemens, a young energetic journalist, none other than Mark Twain. John Priestley, Gianni Rodari, and many others also came here to have a rest.
Do come to Yalta today and take a chance to see its palaces, to enjoy its splendid parks, breathtaking views and the fragrance of southern greenery. You will be captivated by the white Livadia Palace, its Florentine courtyard, ;and impeccable premises of the Livadia Park.

As to Yalta itself, it will provide you with the flavour of a southern resort - the hub of [recreation and entertainment at the Black Sea Eoast - and give as a gift to you - its sea-side promenade, white sea liners at the pier, the shade of huge plane-trees in the sea-side park, scenic winding streets, going up the hills.
No doubt, they will enter your heart, win ay there for ever.

Sergey Tsarapora private guide