Following the Tsar’s Path in Crimea

Built in 1861 for Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family to take their daily walk, the Tsar’s Path stretches a distance of more than six kilometers along the Crimean Mountains, linking the Tsar’s summer retreat, Livadia Palace, with the majestic Swallow’s Nest castle. The views of the coastline and the city of Yalta in the distance are spectacular and along the pathway are various monuments and sculptures, with the surroundings beautifully landscaped.

The pathway was built at the suggestion of the Romanov family’s doctor, as the combination of exercise and the therapeutic climate of the Crimean coast would ease the tuberculosis problems experienced by the family. It is due to these health problems that the path itself has no steep gradients requiring exertion by walkers, and remains at an average of 150 meters above sea level. The construction of the path was completed in 1901, and remained a favorite leisure spot for the Tsar and his family.

During the Soviet era, the name of the pathway was changed to Solnechnaya Tropa, or Sunny Path, to eliminate any reference to Imperial Russia. In fact, Tsar Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, as well as being the Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. He ruled from 1894 through to 15 March 1917, when he abdicated his throne. Together with his family and members of his staff, Tsar Nicholas II was murdered by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16 July 1918. His critics referred to him as Bloody Nicholas because of conflicts during his reign, and he is said to have brought Russia from being one of the great powers of the world to the point of military and economic collapse.

While Tsar Nicholas II may have fallen from grace by the end of his life, he left behind many reminders of a time when Imperial Russia ruled supreme. The Tsar’s Path is just one of these reminders, and visitors to this beautiful part of Ukraine can enjoy the view the pathway offers, as well as the Crimean attractions of the Livadia Palace and the Swallow’s Nest that are linked by the path.