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Yalta’s Mayor invites readers to come, explore and enjoy his wonderful Crimean resort
Tetyana PANINA lets the readers get some glimpses of Yalta, the biggest resort in the Crimea, and its environs.
With every passing year, the number of foreign tourists and vacationers, who come to Yalta and other resorts on the southern coast of the Crimea, grows. Most of the tourists used to come from Germany, Holland, Turkey and Denmark, but now a lot of visitors also come from Switzerland, Scandinavian countries, China and Japan.
Many tourists who plan a visit to the countries of the former Soviet Union are somewhat apprehensive about their visits — what kind of services should they expect? What kind of transportation will be provided? Tourist infrastructure? Language barrier? Entertainment? Will these and other things be a problem?
Problems may arise even where the tourist infrastructure is the most developed and services are the best. There are no absolutely problem-proof places in the world, no matter where you go. Terrorism is one of those things that can be on the mind of tourists who go to Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia and other countries. There has NOT been a single case of terrorist attack on tourists in Yalta or anywhere else in the Crimea. This point made, let’s proceed to the tourist infrastructure and services you should expect in Yalta.
Serhiy Braiko, Mayor of Yalta, says:
“Yalta has 9 sister cities: Bade-Bade, Germany; Nice, France; Margate, Great Britain; Pozzuoli, Italy; Santa-Barbara, USA; Sanya, China; Rhodes, Greece; Rijeka, Croatia; Fujisawa, Japan. Yalta also has partner cities contacts with which are developing fast: Parnu, Estonia; Frydek-Mistek, the Czech Republic; Guangzhou, China; Galati, Rumania.
Yalta sends delegations to, and receives delegations from theses cities, organizes music festivals and exchanges of students.
I have paid official visits to these cities, some of them I visited several times, and I can say that I, as mayor, found these visits very useful. We, in Yalta, can use some of the practical things that I saw and was told about during my visits in our own work. The city authorities have allotted additional sums of money for advertisement in English for the benefit of English-speaking visitors and tourists.”
Upon your arrival in Simferopol, the Crimean capital, you will be provided, either at the airport or at the railroad terminal, with a car — limos are also available. If you prefer a more democratic way of transportation — a mini bus, for example, you are welcome to it. You will be taken to the hotel of your choice in one the resorts on the southern coast of the Crimea. The ride will take between one and two hours, depending on the place you want to go to. The shortest trip is to Yalta itself.
Once you’ve settled down, you will be offered all kinds of excursions and sightseeing tours, for which various means of transportation will be offered — a bus, or a sedan or a limo, depending on your choice.
If you come from one of the EU countries, Canada, Japan, or the USA, you don’t have to worry about getting a visa beforehand — you can get your visa right at the airport for eight days, provided you produce papers confirming that you arrived as a tourist.
If you do not speak either Ukrainian or Russian, you will be provided with an interpreter who doubles as a guide. The local Intourist Company provides interpreters fluent in all the European languages and Chinese. Sorry — no Japanese yet.
There are two four-star hotels in Yalta — Oreanda and Palmira Palace. Both hotels have conference halls equipped for simultaneous interpretation. Three-star hotels — Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year); Bristol, Primorsky Park; Levant, and Yalta-Intourist — are in excellent condition to make you feel comfortable. You can learn more about hotel accommodation in Yalta at www.yalta-gs.gov.ua.
Yalta is best known in the English-speaking world not so much as a resort but rather as a place where the Yalta Conference was held. The venue was the palace that used to belong to the Russian Imperial family in Livadia; the time — February 4–11, 1945. It was a major World War II conference of the three chief Allied leaders, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. They met at Yalta in the Crimea to plan the final defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany.
It had already been decided that Germany would be divided into occupied zones administered by U.S., British, French, and Soviet forces. The conferees accepted the principle that the Allies had no duty toward the Germans except to provide minimum subsistence, declared that the German military industry would be abolished or confiscated, and agreed that major war criminals would be tried before an international court, which subsequently presided at Nurnberg.
How to deal with the defeated or liberated countries of eastern Europe was the main problem discussed at the conference. Poland’s future frontiers were also discussed but not decided.
Regarding the Far East, a secret protocol stipulated that, in return for the Soviet Union’s entering the war against Japan within two or three months after Germany’s surrender, the Soviet Union would regain the territory lost to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904– 05; Stalin agreed to sign a pact of alliance and friendship with China.
The United Nations organization charter had already been drafted, and the conferees worked out a compromise formula for voting in the Security Council. The Soviets withdrew their claim that all 16 Soviet republics should have membership in the General Assembly.
The Livadia Palace, where you can see the conference rooms and marble benches on which the heads of state sat during the breaks posing for photographers, is a major tourist attraction but there are other places worth visiting, the palaces in Alupka and Massandra among them. The great Nikitsky Botanical Gardens is a tourist must — no matter when you come to visit it, you will see some plants in bloom.
Among other tourist attractions are the Aquapark in Simeiz, the Dolphinarium in the Hotel Yalta-Intourist, the bath complex at the Primorsky park Hotel and the bath complex at the Palmira Palace Hotel in Livadia; the bath complex in Livadia is housed in a three-story building; in addition to a swimming pool, it has four sauna baths. If you happen to stay at the Palmira Palace itself, you will not have to pay anything extra for using the swimming pool or saunas.
The number of diving centres also grows. After a brief instruction, you can take a dive in a rented wetsuit, accompanied by an instructor. The instruction, a half-hour dive and services of an instructor will cost you 30 dollars.
If you want to get a bird’s eye view of Yalta and of the coast, you can get a 30-minute ride in a helicopter for 300 dollars. This time it will be enough to see a considerable stretch of the coast with Big Yalta satellite resorts dotting it and fly over Mount Ai-Petri, the most scenic of the Crimean mountains. If you feel like taking a longer helicopter ride, you are surely welcome to do so — for a price, of course.
Some tourists like wine and wine tasting. Crimean wines are among the best produced in Ukraine. The two major wine producers in the Crimea are Massandra and Magarach; both companies organize wine tasting. Tastes, of course, differ, but there are Crimean wines that wine connoisseurs put on a par with — or even better than — the best French or Italian wines. After you have tasted several wines and determined which you liked best, you can get what you want for your wine collection or for immediate consumption choosing from a great selection of wines in Massandra and Magarach wine cellars.
Hikes in the mountains are among the excursions that are offered to tourists. A guide will take you to the most scenic places. If climbing the mountains is not on the list of the things that you like to do, but at the same time you want to see what it is like on the top of Mount Ai-Petri and enjoy great panoramic views from its pinnacle, you can get there by automobile or by cable car. In winter, there are convenient places in the mountains where you can do some mountain skiing, tobogganing, or snowboarding. In winter, within short thirty minutes, you can get transported from the warm world of palms and blooming shrubs to a more severe world of snow and cold wind — and to a different but no less exciting kind of fun.
All kinds of sports competitions, professional and amateur (fishing contest among the anglers, for example) song festivals and shows enliven the relaxed resort atmosphere.
Gunter Kuz, a tourist from Germany, wrote in a guest book of the hotel where he stayed, “I’ve never thought that Yalta is such a beautiful place, so hospitable, so charming, offering so many exciting things. I found the local climate better than at the Mediterranean coasts, and the services are as good as in Cyprus, Turkey or Egypt. And there are so many wonderful places to see and things to experience — palaces, wine cellars and mountain peaks…”
Photos have been provided by Slavuta SA