LOG IN HERE
Username
Password

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?

New Europe

Day Seventy-nine: Yalta

The Vorontsov Palace 
click to enlarge 
file size
Between the mountains and the Black Sea, the Vorontsov Palace is where Churchill stayed during the Yalta Conference.
Michael Palin - New EuropeYalta is on the same latitude as the south of France and in the nineteenth century the balmy climate and the beauty of the rocky coastline attracted wealthy and well-connected folk who wanted an escape from the hard Russian winters. They employed the best architects, craftsmen and gardeners to create summer palaces on the pine-clad slopes of the mountains.

In the last months of the Second World War, with Germany on the brink of defeat, Yalta's great nineteenth-century mansions offered a safe, comfortable and suitably stately get-away for the Big Three, the leaders of the Soviet Union, the USA and Great Britain, to sit down and wrestle with the implications of victory.

Churchill and his team were installed at the Vorontsov Palace, a combination of Scottish baronial and Oriental fantasy built by English architects in the early nineteenth century for Count Mikhail Vorontsov, Governor of the Crimea, who spent several fortunes on the place and never lived here. The German army had only moved out ten months previously and when Churchill arrived for the conference with Stalin and Roosevelt in February 1945, it was cold, dark and a little grim.

Today it's beautiful. The palace has been restored and though the Gothic walls and towers facing the mountains remain a little forbidding, the seaward side is light and graceful. A long glass conservatory with ceramic tiled floor is well stocked with plants and rather twee Italian marble busts and there are some splendid interiors, including the Blue Room, entirely decorated like a piece of Wedgwood pottery, all of which are tended by an all-female army of cleaners and curators.

The gardens are equally well tended and a wide flight of steps leads down from the flamboyant arabesque south entrance, flanked by three pairs of white marble lions. One of the lower pair is in a blissful state of semi-sleep, paws crossed, head on one side and looking deeply content. Churchill was very fond of this lion and described it as 'Like me, only without the cigar'. He asked Stalin if he could have it, but his request was turned down.
The Vorontsov Palace 
click to enlarge 
file size
Between the mountains and the Black Sea, the Vorontsov Palace is where Churchill stayed during the Yalta Conference.
Choose another day from New Europe

PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Seventy-nine: Yalta
  • Country/sea: Ukraine
  • Place: Yalta
  • Book page no: 188

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.

RELATED LINKS

  • Sightseeing
  • Day 5 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 18 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 16 
  • Pole to Pole

RELATED PHOTOS

ROUTE MAPS