Yalta: The Crimean Holiday Resort
The peninsula of “Crimea” was for years the Soviet Union’s favorite vacation destination—the only sunny warm beach climate they had.
Crimea continues to be the top holiday destination for your average Russian. And these days, you don’t have to be a faithful party member to join in.
In the early days of the Revolution, Lenin decreed real “health” holidays in government-owned sanatoriums for farm workers and other comrades. But gradually, Crimean vacations were awarded as perks to top officials and party members, and as showcases for foreigners to see how well Communism worked.
Before the Russian invasion it was possible to book yourself into an old-school Soviet sanatorium. If you don’t mind a little communal living and soviet-style vintage design, they were great bargains.
The Hotel Rossiya was originally built and paid for by the machinery workers union, and intended for use by the union members. There are hammer and sickle motifs, statues of heroic “workers”, a bizarre beach access tunnel built by the metro workers of Moscow—that feels like a subway tunnel. It is still owned by the state—once again the Russian one and Russians are still the main clients.
The Tsar’s PALACE
Yalta’s Livadia palace was the Tsar’s Summer Home (briefly) But most famously, it was the scene of a key moment in 20th century history—the famous summit of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin deciding the fate of post war Europe.
The palace contains archive photos, artifacts of WW2 history, and an earlier history of a doomed Tsar, Nicholas the 2nd, and his family, who built the palace as a summer home, and only used it a couple of times before their assassination. They were health nuts, who talk a long walk towards the water every day. Once known as the Tsar’s walk, the path was renamed the Sunshine Walk by the communists.