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Europe » Ukraine » Yalta

Steep mountain peaks serve as a lovely backdrop for Yalta the jewel of the Crimean peninsula. There is no surprise that the writer Anton Chekhov chose to live in this seaside resorts it seems to be a combination of Carmel California the French Riviera and Greece. Yalta (pop. 80 000) has exemplary resorts museums and beaches.

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Located near the southern tip of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Yalta lies along the northern shores of the Black Sea. Built on the site of an ancient Greek colony, Yalta is perhaps best known as the site of the Yalta Conference, a meeting between the leaders of the Soviet Union, U.S. and United Kingdom in February 1945. A popular resort destination for centuries, Yalta’s sightseeing attractions reflect the city’s rich and colorful history.

 

Things to do & see:

 

Livadia is the former Romanov vacation home used for the World War II conference of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt. Chekhovs former residence has been turned into a museum; inside one can find the writer?s medical bag (from his days as a doctor) and the piano Rachmaninov played when he visited.

Allow at least two (but preferably three) nights for relaxation. Just outside of Yalta set on a hilltop beside the ocean are the Nikitsky Botanical Gardens which boast 1 600 varieties of roses and a very good restaurant/club.

Do not miss the Swallows Nest, a fantastical castle perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea (the castle was in fact designed for a German businessman by a U.S. architect).

Enjoy the refreshing ferry or hydrofoil ride between the resort towns along the coast. Alupka from which one can take a cable car to Mt. Ai-Petri for fabulous views and Miskhor with a beautiful beach are tourists' favorite resorts. Special trips can be arranged to Sevastopol and Balaklava, two important sites in the Crimean War immortalized in the poemThe Charge of the Light Brigade.

Another excursion goes to Bakhchisarai, a city of minarets and mosquesit was once the capital of the Crimean Khanate. While there, it is recommended to see the magnificent palace of Khan Mengli-Girel and the Fountain of Tears which inspired Pushkin to write the poem The Fountain of Bakhchisarai.

There is no airport in Yalta; one must fly to the regional capital of Simferopol set among beautiful vineyards and orchards and then take a car into the city (about an hour drive). 210 mi/340 km southeast of Odesa.

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