I want to tell a story about a great royal palace and beautiful garden in Crimea, southern Ukraine. It's situated near Alupka, small town on south bank of Crimea and called Vorontsov Palace or Alupka Palace.
Vorontsov Palace is one of the oldest and largest royal palaces in all of Crimea. In the past, it was the summer residence of Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.
Vorontsov Garden is situated within the walls of Vorontsov Palace, a beautiful garden which features 40 hectares (near 99 acres) of forestry and greenery. The man behind this amazing garden is German landscape gardener Carolus Keebach.
One side of Vorontsov Garden faces the Black Sea, the other on north side with the foot of the Crimean Mountains. The Vorontsov Garden offers a view of the top Ai-Petri mountain.
Vorontsov Palace is a great work of Edward Blore, a Scottish architect, and his assistant William Hunt. In his time Edward Blore was a very famous architecto, and was in fact one of the designers of the Buckingham Palace in London, United Kingdom.
The basis of the architectural design of the palace was the idea of the marriage between the East and the West: Half of the palace looks like a European castle, and the other looks like an Oriental palace.
After the October Revolution, in 1921, the Vorontsov Palace was opened to the public and converted into a museum of royal life.
Winston Churchill, in his book “Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War” wrote about this place: “The setting of our abode was impressive … Behind the villa, half Gothic and half Moorish in style, rose the mountains, covered in snow, culminating in the highest peak in the Crimea. Before us lay the dark expanse of the Black Sea, severe, but still agreeable and warm even at this time of the year. Carved white lions guarded the entrance to the house, and beyond the courtyard lay a fine park with sub-tropical plants and cypresses.”
For some years, the Vorontsov Palace was a summer residence only for members of KGB, the Soviet secret police. But in 1956, the palace was once again reinstated as a museum and opened for tourists.
Near Vorontsov Garden is the store of famous wine factory “Masandra”, where one can possibly buy original wine made from the 1940’s up to the present. Outside the store, you can see the huge wooden barrels with wine.
If you want visit Vorontsov Palace and Alupka, I think the best time to go is April or May. In these months, there are not a lot of tourists in Crimea, but the weather is amazing. You can also shoot bright spring Crimean colors with your analogue cameras!