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Facade of the Livadia Palace
An Italian courtyard of the Livadia Palace.
The chapel

Livadia Palace ( , , ) was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimeamarker in southern Ukrainemarker. The Yalta Conferencemarker was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation. Today the palace houses a museum, but it is sometimes used by the Ukrainian authorities for international summits.

Construction history

Formerly granted to Lambros Katsonis and then a possession of the Potocki family, the Livadia estate became a summer residence of the Russian imperial family in the 1860s, when architect Ippolito Monighetti built a large palace, a small palace, and a church there. The residence was frequented by Alexander II of Russia, while his successor Alexander III died in the smaller palace. It was perhaps disagreeable associations with the latter circumstance that induced his son Nicholas to have both palaces torn down and replaced with a larger structure.

In 1909 Nicholas and his wife travelled to Italymarker, where they were captivated by Renaissance palaces shown to them by Victor Emmanuel III. Upon their return, they engaged Nikolay Krasnov, Yaltamarker's most fashionable architect, responsible for the grand ducal residences in Koreizmarker, to prepare plans for a brand new imperial palace. The tsar's diary testifies that the design was much discussed in the imperial family; it was decided that all four facades of the palace should look different. Construction works lasted for seventeen months; the new palace was inaugurated on 11 September, 1911. Grand Duchess Olga celebrated her 16th birthday that November at Livadia.

The palace was once used as a mental institution, and now serves as a museum on the territory of Ukrainemarker. Most of the historical artifacts have been lost, but anything that has been recovered can be seen for a small fee. In August 2007 the palace was recognized as a landmark of a modern history by the Seven Wonders of Ukraine project. Sofia Rotaru, whose 60th anniversary was celebrated in presence of Russian, Ukrainian and Moldavian presidents - a second such meeting since Yalta Conferencemarker - allowed necessary funds for the reconstruction of Livadia Palace in 2008..


The Grand Livadia Palace, east facade with a Florentine tower, October 2006

The Livadia Palace is built of white Crimean granite in the Neo-Renaissance style. The edifice features an arched portico of Carraramarker marble, a spatious Arabic patio, an Italian patio, a Florentine tower, ornate Bramantesque windows, a "balcony-belvedere", and multiple bays with jasper vases. A gallery connects the palace with a neo-Byzantine church of the Exaltation of the Cross, built by Monighetti in 1866.

The palace contains 116 rooms, with interiors furnished in different styles. There are a Pompeian vestibule, an English billiard-room, a Neo-baroque dining room, and a Jacob-style study of maple wood, which elicited particular admiration of Nicholas II.


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