Friday, October 01, 2010

Livadia Palace, Yalta Conference

This charming small palace was built for the ill-fated Czar Nicholas II, and was a favourite summer destination for the Czar and his family for a few years in the early 20th century. It is in the hills above Yalta, Crimea and enjoys pleasant sea breezes even in the hottest weather. (A good thing, since it is not air-conditioned and crowds can be large.)
In February 1945 Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt met here to discuss the fate of postwar Europe. They agreed to a division of both Germany and Austria into four zones of occupation, among other provisions. The agreements reached here, along with those at Potsdam later in the year, led to the de facto recognition of the Soviet Union's control of the entire Baltic and Eastern European region, and soon to the Cold War.
According to the Yalta agreements free elections were supposed to be held in Poland, but they never took place. The Red Army was in control of Eastern Europe by this time, but neither Churchill nor Roosevelt put up much of a fight against Stalin's designs.
FDR was in very poor health at the time of the conference, and was to die just two months later. So, this palace does not have a very happy history, but it is still a must for any visitor to the Crimea. Admission costs around $5, not bad for such an important building.


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