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Yalta ( , ) is a city in Crimeamarker, southern Ukrainemarker, on the north coast of the Black Seamarker.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore (γιαλος – yalos in Greek) on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black Sea, surrounded by wooded mountains. It enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with many vineyards and orchards in the vicinity.

The term "The Greater Yalta" is used to designate a part of the Crimean southern coast spanning from Forosmarker in the west to Gurzufmarker in the east and including the city of Yalta and multiple adjacent urban settlements (the area of the Greater Yalta is marked dark blue on the map).


12th-19th centuries

The existence of Yalta was first recorded in the 12th century by an Arab geographer, who described it as a Byzantine port and fishing settlement. It became part of a network of Genoesemarker trading colonies on the Crimean coast in the 14th century, when it was known as Etalita or Galita. Crimea was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1475, which made it a semi-independent subject territory under the rule of the Crimean Khanate but the southern coast with Yalta was under direct ottoman rule forming the Eyalet of Kefe (Feodosiyamarker). Yalta was annexed by the Russian Empiremarker in 1783, along with the rest of Crimea, sparking the Russo-Turkish War, 1787-1792. Prior to the annexation of the Crimea, the Crimean Greeks were moved to Mariupolmarker in 1778; one of the villages they established nearby is also called Yalta.

In the 19th century, the town became a fashionable resort for the Russian aristocracy and gentry. Leo Tolstoy spent summers there and Anton Chekhov in 1898 bought a house ("Belaya Dacha" - The White Mansion) here, where he lived till 1902; Yalta is the setting for Chekhov's short story, The Lady with the Dog and such prominent play as "The Three Sisters" was written in Yalta. The town was also closely associated with royalty. In 1889 Tsar Alexander III finished construction of Massandra Palace a short distance to the north of Yalta and Nicholas II built the Livadia Palacemarker south-west of the town in 1911.

In the 20th century

During the 20th century Yalta was the principal holiday resort of the Soviet Unionmarker. In 1920, Lenin issued a decree "On the Use of Crimeamarker for the Medical Treatment of the Working People" which endorsed the region's transformation from a fairly exclusive resort area into a recreation facility for tired proletarians. Numerous workers' sanatoria were constructed in and around Yalta. There were, in fact, few other places that Soviet citizens could come for a seaside holiday, as foreign travel was forbidden to all but a handful. The Soviet elite also came to Yalta; the Soviet dictator Stalin used the Massandra Palace as his summer residence. NKVD shot all prisoners in city prisons on November 4, 1941.

Naberezhnaya of Yalta
Yalta's Sea Promenade (Naberezhna), containing a great number of hotels, restaurants, and cafés.

The town came to worldwide attention in 1945 when the Yalta Conferencemarker between the "Big Three" powers - the Soviet Unionmarker, the United Statesmarker and the United Kingdommarker - was held at the Livadia Palacemarker.

Modern Yalta

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Yalta has struggled economically. Many of the nouveaux riches started going to other European holiday resorts, now that they had the freedom and money to travel; conversely, the impoverishment of many ex-Soviet citizens meant that they could no longer afford to go to Yalta. The town's transport links have been significantly reduced with the end of almost all passenger traffic by sea (on conditions for 2009 sea passenger lines return to Yalta. New line Yalta - Novorossiysk (Russia) is operating in July and August. + line Yalta - Sinop (Turkey) ). The longest in Europe trolleybus line goes from train station in Simferopol to Yalta (almost 90 km). Yalta is really overcrowded in high season (July-August) and prices for accommodation are very expensive. Most of tourists here are from former Soviet Union countries. Foreigners (this would be approximately 7% to the total number of tourists visiting Yalta) are mostly from Europe and United States.

Yalta has a beautiful embankment along the Black Sea. People can be seen strolling there all seasons of the year, and it also serves as a place to gather and talk (actually the place "to see and to be seen"). There are several beaches on left and right sides from embankment.Yalta has a movie theater, drama theater, plenty of restaurants, open-air market.

Main sights

Famous attractions within or near Yalta are:
  • Yalta's Sea Promenade (Naberezhnaya), housing many attractions and being recently renovated (2003-2004);
  • Armenianmarker Church, built by V. Surenyants;
  • A Roman Catholic Church built by N. Krasnov, a famous Russian architect
  • Yalta's Cablecar, taking visitors to the Darsan hill, from which one can see Yalta's shoreline;
  • Renovated Hotel Taurica, the first hotel in the former Russian Empiremarker with elevators;
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedralmarker, constructed by the architect Krasnov, which also constructed the Livadia Palacemarker and the architect P. Terebenyov;
  • Former main building of the Ministry of Defence hotel, built in the style of a Gothic castle;
  • Palace of Bukhara Emir;
  • Yalta's Zoo;
  • Yalta's Aquarium, housing small dolphins;
  • Park-museum Polyana Skazok (Glade of Fairytales);
  • House-museum of Anton Chekhov;
  • House-museum of Lesya Ukrainka;
  • House with Caryatids, where the composer A. Spendiarov lived

Moreover, Yalta's suburbs house:


As Yalta lies to the south of the Crimean Mountainsmarker and within an amphitheatre of hills, the climate is very mild. In February, the average temperature reaches 4°C. Snow is rarely seen and the city's thin layers of snow thaw quickly. In July, the average temperature reaches 24°C. The sun shines approximately 2,250 hours per year. Since the city is located on the shore of the Black Seamarker, the weather rarely becomes extremely hot due to the cool sea breezes.The average year temperature for Yalta is + 13 C.


As of the Ukrainian Census conducted on January 1, 2001, the population of Yalta is 80,500. The main ethnic groups of Yalta are: Russians — 65%, Ukrainians — 25.7%, Crimean Tatars — 4%, Belarusians — 2%. The absolutely predominant language in the streets of the city is Russian.This total number doesn't comprise the population of neighboring villages and small towns. The metropolitan area population is about 125,000.

Twin cities

Yalta is twinned with the following cities:


External links

See also

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