Crima: Livadia Palace
Southern coast of Crimea is peppered with sumptuous palaces from the 18-19th century, all belonging to the Russian tzars or tzar-affiliated royalty. Livadia Palace was the official summer residence of the last three Russian tzars and the Palace was rebuilt and remodeled in 1908 specifically to incorporate the tzars wishes and desires (nice to be the king!). It’s a grand white building with extensive gardens surrounding the estate. A massive monument to Nicholas II (the last Russian tzar) is a new addition to the Palace with his famous quote engraved – “Russia has only two allies – its Army and its Navy”. The Palace’s other claim to fame is the Yalta Conference of 1944 which was held here at the Livadia Palace between Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt (and a monument to the three of them commemorates the meeting – Stalin is seemingly oversized here). It was at Livadia Palace that the heads of USSR/USA/UK carved up Europe into the socialist and capitalist spheres of influence, reshuffled and redrew borders, and basically gave Stalin all he wanted in exchange for his promise to join the war in the Pacific.