Vorontsov's Palace (Alupka)
The Vorontsov Palace is an historic palace situated at the foot of the Crimean Mountains near the town of Alupka
Alupka is a resort city located in Crimea, Ukraine, situated to the west of Yalta. It is famous for the Vorontsov's Palace, designed by English architect Edward Blore in an extravagant mixture of Scottish baronial and Neo-Moorish styles and built in 1828–1846 for prince Mikhail Semyonovich...

 in Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, located in southern Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. The palace was constructed for Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov
Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov
Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov , was a Russian prince and field-marshal, renowned for his success in the Napoleonic wars, and most famous for his participation in the Caucasian War from 1844 to 1853....

 as a summer residence in the Tudor
Tudor architecture
The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...

 style, with elements of Scottish Baronial, Moorish Revival, and Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....


The Vorontsov Palace is one of the oldest and largest residential palaces in all of Crimea, as well as one of the most popular tourist attractions on Crimea's southern coast. The palace's territory and grounds are commonly featured in Ukrainian
Cinema of Ukraine
-State owned:* Dovzhenko Film Studios * Odessa Film Studio * National Cinematheque of Ukraine * Ukrtelefilm* Yalta Film Studio-Film distribution:...

 and Soviet cinema
Cinema of the Soviet Union
The cinema of the Soviet Union, not to be confused with "Cinema of Russia" despite Russian language films being predominant in both genres, includes several film contributions of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union reflecting elements of their pre-Soviet culture, language and history,...

 productions such as An Ordinary Miracle
An Ordinary Miracle (1964 film)
An Ordinary Miracle is a Soviet 1964 lyrical comedy film, a love story directed by Erast Garin based on a play by Yevgeni Shvarts.King's palace was filmed in Vorontsov's Palace.- Cast :* Aleksei Konsovsky* Nina Zorskaya * Oleg Vidov as The Bear...

(1964), Nebesnye lastochki (1976), Crazy Day or The Marriage of Figaro
Crazy Day or The Marriage of Figaro
Crazy Day or The Marriage of Figaro is a modern comedy musical staged by Russian and Ukrainian television channels NTV and Inter under direction of Semen Gorov in 2003, based on the Pierre Beaumarchais' play The Marriage of Figaro...

(2004), and Sappho (2008).


The palace was commissioned to be used as a summer residence for the Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 of Novorossiya
Novorossiya is a historic area of lands which established itself solidly after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate by the Russian Empire, but was introduced with the establishment of Novorossiysk Governorate with the capital in Kremenchuk in the mid 18th century. Until that time in both Polish...

, Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

 Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov
Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov
Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov , was a Russian prince and field-marshal, renowned for his success in the Napoleonic wars, and most famous for his participation in the Caucasian War from 1844 to 1853....

 (1782-1856). Construction on the palace began in 1830, according to a project by English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 architect Edward Blore
Edward Blore
Edward Blore was a 19th century British landscape and architectural artist, architect and antiquary. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland ....

 (1789–1879). The architect himself did not visit Alupka, but was well informed about the area's mountainous landscape and terrain. When the construction began, it was discovered that a foundation and basement of the palace's main concourse was already in place, owing to the fact that the palace was originally supposed to be constructed to the design of architects Francesco Boffo
Francesco Boffo
Francesco Carlo Boffo was a Sardinian-born Neoclassical architect who designed more than 30 buildings in Odessa between 1818 and 1861, including the famous Potemkin Stairs....

 and Thomas Harrison
Thomas Harrison (architect)
Thomas Harrison was an English architect and engineer. He built a number of bridges, including Grosvenor Bridge in Chester. He also rebuilt parts of Chester and Lancaster castles...

Russian serfdom
The origins of serfdom in Russia are traced to Kievan Rus in the 11th century. Legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants, the term for an unfree peasant in the Russian Empire, krepostnoi krestyanin , is translated as serf.-...

 from the Moscow
Moscow Governorate
Moscow Governorate , or Government of Moscow, was an administrative division of the Russian Empire, which existed in 1708–1929....

 and the Vladimir Governorates were brought in to construct the palace. Masons with expertise in "white stone" constructions were also brought in to help. The blocks used on the construction of the palace were made of diabase
Diabase or dolerite is a mafic, holocrystalline, subvolcanic rock equivalent to volcanic basalt or plutonic gabbro. In North American usage, the term diabase refers to the fresh rock, whilst elsewhere the term dolerite is used for the fresh rock and diabase refers to altered material...

, locally found in the region. All of the other materials were brought in from far away locations. Work carried out on the place was done by hand, with the use of primitive tools.

The first room to be constructed of the Vorontsov Palace was the dining room
Dining room
A dining room is a room for consuming food. In modern times it is usually adjacent to the kitchen for convenience in serving, although in medieval times it was often on an entirely different floor level...

, built from 1830-1834. The main and central wing of the building was constructed from 1831-1837. During 1841-1842, a billiard
Cue sports , also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick which is used to strike billiard balls, moving them around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by rubber .Historically, the umbrella term was billiards...

 room was added to the dining room. During 1838-1844, the guest wing, the east wing, towers, the maintenance wing, and the front entrance were added on to the building. The last wing built of the castle was the library wing, constructed from 1842-1846. The remaining years on the construction of the palace were spent on the interior decor.

The largest of the landscaping jobs carried out on the palace's grounds were done from 1840 to 1848 with the help of soldiers helping to construct the park's terraces located in front of the building's southern entrance. The parks plant life was brought in from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, from North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, and eastern Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. Currently over 200 species of plant life exist within the palace's grounds.
In the summer of 1848, white marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 sculptures of two medici lions
Medici lions
The Medici lions are two lion sculptures placed around 1600 at the Villa Medici, Rome, Italy, and since 1789 displayed at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence. The sculptures depict standing male lions with a sphere under one claw, looking to the side...

were installed on the central staircase leading up to the castle. The sculptures were carried out by the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 sculptor Giovanni Bonnani. The construction of the palace ensemble was finished with the addition of the lion sculptures.

Modern history

For three generations, the Vorontsov Palace belonged to the Vorontsov family
Vorontsov, also Woronzow, Woroncow is a celebrated Russian family, which attained the dignity of Counts of the Holy Roman Empire in 1744 and Serene Princes of the Russian Empire in 1852....

. After the Soviets
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 came to power after the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, the palace was transformed into a museum, which took up the main, dining, and library wings. In 1927, a resort was opened in a wing of the palace, and a polyclinic
Polyclinics in England are intended to offer a far greater range of services than can be offered by current general practitioner practices and local health centres. In addition to traditional GP services they would offer extended urgent care, healthy living services, community mental health...

 and rest facility was opened within the palace's technical wing.

When World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 began in 1941, the museum expositions were evacuated from Alupka in fear of damage from attacking armies. However, other museums in Crimea were not evacuated due to a lack of time. Occupants of the museum had also evacuated many architectural pieces, including some 537 items of art and graphics, 360 pieces of the building's decor, sets of unique furniture, and a series of historic books. After the war, a small collection was recovered and was placed back in the palace.

From February 11–14, 1945, the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 took place in the neighboring Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea in southern Ukraine. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation...

 between representatives from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and the Soviet Union. During the time, the Vorontsov Palace served as the residence of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 and the British delegation to the conference. In 1956, the Vorontsov Palace was once again reinstated as a museum, on the order of the Soviet government. Two years later, the museum was changed to incorporate architectural and art exhibits, and in 1965 the palace's territory was named as the Alupka Palace-Park Complex.


The Vorontsov Palace was built according to new architectural-construction principles, however still managing to incorporate Classical style
Classical architecture
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...

 architectural elements. An important architectural characteristic of the palace was its relation to the nearby Crimean Mountains, with which it harmonized perfectly. The palace was designed in the English Tudor style, incorporating elements of early English architecture with later architecture, because it took about 18 years to construct the palace. The earliest examples of the palace's architecture appear from the western gates — the later architecture, appears farther away from the western gates.

However being mainly in the English style, some eastern elements can be seen in the palace. For instance, the Gothic-style chimney stacks are reminiscent of Islamic
Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture....

A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s. The southern façade is also designed in an eastern architecture style. The southern entrance to the palace is characterized with a flat roof topped off with two minaret-style towers, below which rests an entrance hall leading out towards the exit through a horse-shoe arch. On the interior walls of the entrance hall is an inscription written in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: "There is no Conqueror, except Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

." Side balconies adjoin the entrance hall looking over the so-called "lion terrace."

See also

  • Vorontsov's Palace, located in Odessa, Ukraine
  • Vorontsov's Palace, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia
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