Sunday, April 6, 2008

Livadia Palace

As mentioned in class, Livadia Palace was the summer home of the last Russian Tsars and Nikolai II. I was interested in finding out more about this historic building and what it has been used for throughout the years.

Livadia Palace originally belonged to the Potocki family, an aristocratic Polish family. In the 1860s a large palace, a small palace, and a church were built there, and Livadia became a summer residence for the Russian Imperial family. Both Alexander II and Alexander III spent great deals of time at the palace, and Alexander III died in the smaller palace. In 1909 Nicholas II, Alexander III's son, had the two palaces torn down and a new larger palace was constructed on the site. On September 11, 1911 the Livadia Palace that still stands today was inaugurated.

Since Nikolai II's stays at Livadia, the palace has been utilized in numerous ways. As mentioned in class, in 1925 the first sanatorium for peasants was opened in Livadia Palace. Also mentioned in class, in 1945 the Yalta Conference was held at Livadia Palace. Today Livadia Palace is a museum with most of its historical artifacts lost or destroyed throughout the years. The palace has also served as a location for international summits by Ukrainian authorities.

The Palace, which is built in a Neo-Renaissance style, has over 116 rooms and numerous patios and towers, all of which are built in a variety of styles. The interiors of the rooms also vary in style - from Pompeian to English-inspired rooms, the palace offers a variety of architectural influences. Sofia Rotaru, a Ukrainian female singer, announced in 2008 that she will oversee the reconstruction of Livadia Palace. Rotaru is the first female singer to be awarded the People's Artist of the USSR and celebrated her 60th anniversary at Livadia Palace.

What I found most interesting about the information I found regarding Livadia Palace is that the original two palaces were torn down and a larger palace was built to replace them. I read that Nicholas II tore down the two original palaces after his father died there. I'm not sure what the relationship was between Alexander III and Nicholas II, but I would guess that this might have something to do with why Nicholas II had a new palace built.

Below are some links to videos taken in and around Livadia Palace. The architecture is phenomenal.

1 comment:

Steve Taylor said...

That was an interesting post. Do you how the estate was transfered from that Polish family to the Russian imperial family? It's also sad that most of the artifacts have been lost or destroyed, and it's strange that a singer is put in charge of the restoration.

As for Nicholas II and Alexander III, from what I rememnber Nicholas loved his father and tried to emulate him. He was never successful in doing so. Nicholas was small and feminine and kind of simple-minded whereas his father was a large, powerful and imposing figure. So I don't know if Nicholas would have torn down the palace out of any kind of hatred or anger. It is an interesting question. I'd like to know the answer also.