Yalta’s air – an invigorating blend of sea and pine forest sprinkled with mountain chill – has always been its main asset. Back in the 19th century, doctors in St Petersburg had one remedy for poor-lunged aristocrats: Yalta.
That’s how the Russian royal family and other dignitaries, such as playwright Anton Chekhov, ended up here.Old parts of Yalta are still full of modest and not-so-modest former dachas (holiday homes) of the tsarist-era intelligentsia, while the coast around the city is dotted with the luxurious palaces of the aristocracy. But back in 1913 a Russian travel guide remarked that Yalta was a long way from the Riviera in terms of comforts and civilization.
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