Visiting here now puts one in mind of the heyday of the typical English seaside resort. It’s the tiny patch of beach next to the harbour that all the locals crowd together on (there’s ample beach further afield); it’s the promenade along which everyone walks eyeing each other up and down; above all it’s the ‘comical characters’ painted on boards that have holes for you to stick your head through and have your photo taken. On a fine day, though, it’s all very pleasant, with the sun, the sea air and a harbour sporting some fine looking boats; it has a pervasive air of enjoyment that can’t fail to put you in a good mood.
Just head down towards the harbour
This is a real wedding cake of a building – it looks like someone’s taken to it with a giant icing bag. It was built in 1902 by Alexander III in memory of his father and the interior includes some original mosaics.
This early 20th-century palace was originally the summer residence of Tsar Nicholas II, the last Russian monarch, and his wife Alexandra. Latterly it enjoyed a second wave of fame as the venue for the Yalta conference at the end of world war two where Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt hammered out matters such as the partitioning of Germany.
Visiting here reflects those two rather disparate eras as the top floor is devoted to melancholy relics of the Tsar and his family, the ground floor to details of the power politics of the conference.
So, depending on your mood, you can shed a tear over photos of Nicholas and his daughters in the palace gardens, or marvel over the round table and very seats that the famous leaders occupied during their meeting. No doubt most will do both.
Southern suburbs - take the No5 marshrutka
This much photographed ‘mini castle’ takes its name from the original small wooden dacha that clung to the cliff side in the 19th-century. A German oil baron bought the site and constructed the castle as a ‘love nest’ for his mistress. It was rebuilt in the 1970s and now functions as an Italian restaurant and tourist icon, sitting on the top and right on the edge of the vertiginous rocks
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