The Alupka Palace is the main sight of the town. It was built for one of the richest landlords of Russia, the governor-general of the Novorossiysky Krai, Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.
The palatial ensemble embodies many typical features of the 16th century English Tudor castle.
The palace was built according to a project by English architect Edward Blore (1789–1879)
The count incorporated many English architects into the work:F. Elson built the old House and the Tea House. F. Bauffod and T. Harrison were busy with the design. An important architectural characteristic of the Alupka palace was its relation to the nearby Crimean Mountains, with which it harmonized perfectly.
Stone walls, loophole windows and triangular buttresses give the palace the appearance of a medieval castle. But when you enter the front courtyard here you’ll see that the palace resembles nobleman’s country- seat. It is organically integrated into the surrounding landscape.
The Alupka Palace is now an architectural and art museum. It contains the furnishings and art collections, which had been in the palace itself and the collections from other estates on the Southern coast of the Crimea. On the interior walls of the entrance hall is an inscription written in Arabic: «There is no Conqueror, except Allah.»
It’s better to start looking over the rooms in the museum with Governor-General Vorontsov’s main study. Elements of 16th century are clearly seen everywhere. Dark green wall paper, oak panels and doors, the ceiling which is painted in oils harmonize with the room’s overall tone.
There is a portrait of Mikhail Vorontsov, painted by the German artist Franz Kruger (1797-1857). While the author of the count’s wife’s portrait is unknown.
The next room is the chintz room or a small sitting room where walls are hung with chintz, a strong cotton fabric used for upholstery.
It is decorated with paintings by famous artists such as Aivazovsky, Borovikovsky and others.
The walls of the other room are decorated with Chinese mats. That’s why the room is sometimes called the «Chinese study». The embroidery on the mats, the wood carvings on the cornices are executed in the spirit of Italian Renaissance.
Upon leaving these two rooms, you will come upon the vestibule built in a severe Gothic style, with heavy oak ceiling, majestic fireplaces and oil-painted walls. Here hang the portraits of Polish magnates, the Branitskys, who were the parents of Mikhail Vorontsov’s wife. One of the interesting works in the vestibule is a portrait of Catherine II by Fyodor Rokotov (1732-1808).
Then you’ll come to the blue room, which contrasts with the gloomy vestibule. It’s decorated with white stucco patterns in the form of flowers on the blue walls. They were made by Mikhail Vorontsov’s serfs. The room was used for theatrical performances.
The outstanding Russian actor Mikhail Semyonovich Shchepkin (1788-1863) performed here shortly before his death.
To reach the dining room one can walk through the winter garden with many exotic plants and sculptures.
The dining room furniture is in the 19th century English style.
In the next room, the billiard room, you complete your tour of the palace’s interior.
From February 11–14, 1945, the Yalta Conference took place in the neighbouring Livadia Palace between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. During the time, the Vorontsovsky Palace served as the residence of Winston Churchill and the British delegation to the conference.
The Alupka Palace is made of the Crimean Basalt. Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock.
The crustal portions of oceanic tectonic plates are composed predominantly of basalt, produced from upwelling mantle below ocean ridges. Large masses must cool slowly to form a polygonal joint pattern.
Groundmass Basalt are generally referred to as diabase (also called dolerite) or gabbro.