|View of the Black Sea from Livadia Palace. Yalta, Crimea. By Simon Raven.|
A short drive outside Yalta the magnificent Livadia Palace is located on the cliffs with breathtaking views of the Black Sea. This beautiful Italian Renaissance-style white mansion house was built in the 1860s as a summer retreat for Tsar Nicholas II. It later hosted the Yalta Conference in 1945 when the victors of World War II, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin confirmed decisions on the carve-up of Europe.
Driving full circle around the Black Sea in the summer of 2013 with my brother, Chris, we had been seduced during our journey by countless views of the Black Sea from the towers of Genoese fortresses, Khans palaces and the keysides of ancient Greek ports. Black only in name, this mysterious inland sea is a sparkling sapphire at the gateway to Eurasia.