FROM THE CYCLE REST IN CRIMEA.
ARTICLE: "THE VORONTSOVSKY PALACE".
Everyone who has visited cozy places of Crimean coast at least once will always find what to tell about its beauty, to share his impressions of what he has seen there. But special impressions that are not easy to relate belong to those travelers who succeeded to visit marvelous Crimean palaces. You can simply be jealous of them!.. Large parks with rich flora, gigantic and wonderful in their form towers, storing toil of many people, all these are just a small part of those unforgettable and impressive moments, kept in memory of people who had a chance to walk through the luxurious halls of these castles…
Crimean castles are filled with particular beauty and elegance that’s why they have been attracting more and more visitors for a number of years. One of such proud and majestic wonders of Crimean coast is the Vorontsovsky palace in Alupka (it is sometimes called Alupka Palace). It is situated in the heart of this small town among a rave of greens and mountains, having become an integral part of local landscape. You will ask why exactly landscape? Looking at the majestic towers and walls of the Vorontsovsky Palace, a lot of people say that silhouette of the building has some unexplainable but distinctive resemblance to the contour of the Crimean Mountains on its background.
The Vorontsov Palace was aimed for a rather famous and honorable person – Count Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, governor- general of Novorossiysk Territory at that time. The palace was supposed to serve as a summer residence for the Count who made a considerable contribution to the development of many branches, such as winemaking, winegrowing, tobacco growing and many others, by these means ensuring his financial prosperity. Count Vorontsov bought lands and arranged them up to his taste.
Construction of Alupkinskiy palace had lasted for 20 years – since 1828 till 1848. Several famous architects worked on the project. An Odessa architect Franchecsko Boffo and an English architect Тomas Harrison suggested their project, the palace should have been designed in classical style. Construction works under this initial project started in 1829. In two years all the preparation works were finished, the foundation was constructed, and the first bond of bridge exedra in the central building was laid. In 1831 Count Vorontsov left for England. Here, influenced by local architecture, new styles of European art of building, he decided to stop construction of his own palace and readjust the project.
Since 1832 palace building has been continued under the guidance of a new architect from England, Eduard Blore. Due to his project, architecture of the Vorontsovsky palace combines elements of Moorish style, romantic medieval castles, luxury of English mansions and castles of India.
The castle was a part of the Vorontsovs property till 1917. After Soviet Government came to power in Crimea, the palace was nationalized. In 1921 on the order of V.I.Lenin the Vorontsovky Palace got the status of a nаtional museum, where exhibits from other nationalized manors –of Yusupovs, Romanovs, Stroganovs were brought. In occupation period of World War the 2nd, 537 the most valuable exhibits were taken from the palace, which have never been returned to their original abode. It’s a miracle that the building itself survived. In 1945, when Yalta Conference was held by three allied states (the USA, the USSR and Great Britain), the English delegation headed by Winston Churchill was located in the Vorontsovky Palace. Since 1956 till nowadays the museum doors of the Vorontsovky Palace are open for visitors.
Now the Palace has got a status of the Alupka Palace-Park museum-reserve. Nowadays, central, library, dining and living buildings in eight central halls of the first floor are open for public attendance; they are harmoniously united in one complex.
Central Study of M.Vorontsov is decorated with portrait paintings and sophisticated articles of interior of the first half of the XIX century. The Chinese room is the next, where walls are decorated with paddy straw and embroidery with beads and silk. Paintings on the walls of this room amaze every visitor with its unique mastery; you just don’t have enough time to have a look at each of them. Looking at the ceiling in the Chinese room, you get an impression that it is designed of fine-cut wooden panels, but in reality it is simply painted with ordinary oil paint! The next is the Calico room, where works by N.G.Chernetsov and S.F.Schedrin are represented. There is a large Billiard room in the palace, which is mostly used as a wonderful picture gallery, where works of famous representatives of European Renaissance architecture are collected. Wooden finishing of
Palace entrance hall is accomplished with a portrait exposition of royal fаmily and the Vorontsovs. The room of a unique beauty adjoins the lobby, it’s so called Palace Pearl, which is the Blue drawing-room. It is completely covered with hand-made gypsum paintings. White floral stucco interwine on the blue walls of the room, skillfully emphasizing luxurious white with gold furniture designed in Empire style. Amazing Winter Garden is located next to the Blue drawing-room. There are marble portraits of former owners of this palace and simply statues cozily situated among unique tropical greens («Bathing Aphrodite», «Аpolon Belvederskiy», «Мuse of Astronomy Urania», «Girl» and others). One more interesting room is a huge Great hall, having 150 sq.m. in size. Walls and ceiling of the room are decorated with various finishing. The Great hall’s peculiarity is a white-blue fountain and luxurious furniture made by French and English craftsmen.
And so further, walking through the palace corridors and entering each room, you make sure that each following room is no way interior to the previous ones. Exposition of the Vorontsovsky museum includes more than 11 thousand of exhibits: furniture, paintings, engravings, lots of interior items, designed in various styles and epochs.
The Vorontsovky palace is located in parallel to the line of mountain landscape of Ai-Petri. It is fully formed from diabase which is fine-graded volcanic mountain rock of green-black and grey colour.
Palace image impresses with its might and majesty. Construction of each building and each tower of the palace represents architectural trends of different epochs. Central entrance to the castle is located to the west, which differs with its blank walls and circular towers, narrow windows, as well as small and stern medieval entrance with Tudor arch and laced bridge. They make the palace look like a manor house of VIII-XI cc.
Northern face of the palace keeps architectural elements of late English Gothic style: high classical towers, pointed bay-windows facing I-Petri.
Southern side of the Vorontsovsky palace faces the Black sea and is designed with rich oriental magnificence. There is the Lions’ Terrace constructed in front of the southern face, from which a monumental staircase descends to the park. The terrace is decorated and guarded by three pairs of lions, one pair is sleeping, another one is waking up and the third pair is awake. A huge dome over the terrace is completed with repeated six times Arabic inscription «There is no God but Allah».
The Southern part of the Vorontsovsky palace is covered with the park of nobles. Huge park, several hectares in size being the warmest part of Crimea’s Southern coast, it had been created for 50 years by a talented German gardener. Running-water Lake with transparent crystal clear water and royal white swans is called the Pearl of the Vorontsovky Park. Here, in any season you can see charming greens of subtropical vegetation, accomplished with the beauty of mountain springs, fairy waterfalls, and small lakes. The Vorontsovsky park is a distinguishing masterpiece of landscape art.
It does’t matter how many times you have visited the Vorontsovsky Palace, every time its mysterious and majestic architecture, fabulous beauty of the park will open new things, secrets, that make you closer to the interesting history and unequalled architectural art. It is rather difficult to describe all the beauty and values of the Vorontsovsky palace, you need to see it youself!
Author Маrina Меlnichenko