Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A bit of something English in Ukraine

My today's post will be dedicated to a bit of something English in Ukraine (where I live).

Several weeks ago I made a one-day trip to Simferopol, which is the capital of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and Yalta and I'm pretty sure that Crimea is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the world. I was so much impressed by the scenery that I'm overflowing with adjectives (but, really, no words can describe it!). There are boundless steppes, thick forests, incredible mountains (one of them is shaped like a huge bear drinking water) and lots of sun. It's situated on the peninsula of the same name and is washed by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

I was completely spell-bound during our four-hour car ride up the winding road, because I've never seen such unusually-shaped and fantastically-coloured mountains, that looked like something from a fantasy land, with mist hanging in spooky shadows over them like a mysterious veil, or such an astonishing number of tall, thin and arrow-like cypresses (I believe that Crimea is the only place in Ukraine where they actually grow) and other unusual trees: many of them are evergreens and those that are not are wearing bright, multi-coloured, eye-bewitching robes at the moment.

Apart from its natural wonders mentioned above as well as its mountain caves and harbours and its fame as a sea-side resort, Crimea has many palaces and places of interest. Unfortunately, I had very little time and managed to visit only two of them: Voronzov Palace and Livadia Palace and now I'd like to tell you a bit about them (because they are both very beautiful and historically important) and show you some of the pictures that I've bought.

Of course, at first glance Crimea has not much to do with England, however, it does have a few important historical strings attached to it.

Livadia Palace is known as the summer residence of Emperor Nikolai II of Russia and his family.

It was also the place where the Crimea (or Yalta) Conference was held in February 1945, which was the wartime meeting of the heads of the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin, for the purpose of discussing the future of the nations involved in the World War II.

It was Livadia Palace that Franklin Roosevelt chose for his residence during the conference. This was his private room, especially equipped for his needs at the time. Before that it was the study of Nikolai II.

This is “White Hall” where the main part of the conference took place.

During Nikolai II's time it was the main reception room; it was equipped as Stalin's private study during the conference and it was here that he and Franklin Roosevelt discussed their own secret plans that excluded Winston Churchill and England.

Speaking of Winston Churchill, during the conference he chose as his residence Voronzov Palace.

It was built in 1824-1848 for Count Voronzov, who grew up and received his education in England. Apparently he was greatly influenced by everything English and thus the palace was built in something of an Elizabethan style among other things.

According to Churchill it made him feel right at home as though he was back in England. The moment I saw the palace, before I even heard anything from its history, it struck me as something from the “Tudors” and that feeling remained with me throughout the whole excursion.

However, occasionally I was struck by something very Regency-looking.

And this “blue room” is definitely my favourite one.

Farida Mestek is the author of “Margaret's Rematch” and “A Secret Arrangement” - romantic stories set against the backdrop of Regency England. You can learn more about her books at her blog Regency Sketches.


  1. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. Crimea sounds lovely.

  2. Thank you! It is - one of the loveliest spots ever :-))

  3. I was just in Ukraine this summer but I didn't make to Crimea. I went to Odessa instead!

  4. Thanks for the post and the lovely pics. :)

  5. Wow Farida! I am envious of your tours and I was struck by your words of how beautiful the Crimea is.
    I had no picture in mind of it. I had only seen the picture of the Yalta Conference leaders so seeing the rest of where they stayed is magnificent.

    Thanks for posting!

  6. Wow, Meg! Odessa is where I live!

    Thank you Barbara and Sophia Rose! I'm glad you liked it ;-))

  7. Thanks to Farida Mestek, author of the Regency Romances “Margaret's Rematch” and “A Secret Arrangement” for sharing her delightful bit of something English in Ukraine. The pictures and the background information were a delightful change of pace.

  8. Farida, do you know Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series, the fifth book of which, The Ringed Castle, takes place in Russia? Dunnett is usually superb in her descriptions but didn't do much for Crimea. You've given me a splendid mental picture of the landscape. Thank you!

  9. Thank you, Teresa, for stopping by!

    Hi Katherine! Well, it turns out that I do have one of her books but I haven't read it yet :-)) Thank you very much!

  10. This is a fascinating post, and I love all the pictures you provided. How nice to have at least a touch of the tour you enjoyed. Thank you!


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