Livadia Palace (Russian: Ливадийский дворец, Ukrainian: Лівадійський палац) was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation – the Russian delegation was housed in the Yusupov Palace, and the British in the Vorontsov Palace some five miles distant. Today the palace houses a museum, but it is sometimes used for international summits.
Formerly granted to Lambros Katsonis and later a possession of the Potocki family, the Livadia estate became a summer residence of the Russian imperial family in the 1860s, when architect Ippolito Monighetti built a large palace, a small palace, and a church there. The residence was frequented by Alexander II of Russia, while his successor Alexander III used to live (and died) in the smaller palace. It was perhaps disagreeable associations with the latter circumstance that led his son Nicholas to have both palaces demolished and replaced with a larger structure.
Around 1909, Nikolay Krasnov, Yalta's most fashionable architect, responsible for the grand ducal residences in Koreiz, was engaged to prepare plans for a new imperial palace. The Tsar's diary indicates that the design was much discussed in the Imperial Family; it was decided that all four façades of the palace should look different. After 17 months of construction, the new palace was inaugurated on 11 September 1911. In November Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna celebrated her 16th birthday at Livadia.
After the February Revolution in 1917, Nicholas's mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, fled to Livadia with some other members of the Imperial family. They were eventually rescued by the British ship HMS Marlborough, sent by the Dowager Empress's nephew, King George V.
During the Second World War, a ceremony marking the successful completion of the German Crimean Campaign (1941–1942), with the capture of Sevastopol by the German 11th Army under the command of General Erich von Manstein, and Manstein's promotion to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal), was held in the garden of Livadia Palace on July 6, 1942. Participants included officers, noncoms, and soldiers who were awarded the German "Ritterkreuz" (Knight's Cross) and the "Deutsches Kreuz in Gold" (German Cross in Gold).
The palace was once used as a mental institution, and is now a historical museum. Most of the historical furnishings have been lost, but anything that has been recovered can be seen for a small fee. In August 2007 the palace was recognized as a landmark of modern history by the Seven Wonders of Ukraine project. Ukrainian pop singer Sofia Rotaru, who celebrated her 60th birthday at the palace in the company of the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and Moldavia – the second such meeting since the Yalta Conference – funded the restoration of Livadia Palace in 2008.
The Livadia Palace is built of white Crimean granite in the Neo-Renaissance style. The edifice features an arched portico of Carrara marble, a spacious Arabic patio, an Italian patio, a Florentine tower, ornate Bramantesque windows, a "balcony-belvedere", and multiple bays with jasper vases. A gallery connects the palace with a neo-Byzantine church of the Exaltation of the Cross, built by Monighetti in 1866.
The palace contains 116 rooms, with interiors furnished in different styles. There are a Pompeian vestibule, an English billiard-room, a Neo-baroque dining room, and a Jacob-style study of maple wood, which elicited particular admiration of Nicholas II.
- Book: Author: Erich von Manstein. Titel: Verlorene Siege. 2000. 16 Auflage. Bonn. pp. 283–85
- "Sofia Rotaru decided to take Livadia Palace in charge". Твой День. Retrieved 2007-12-28.