PHOTO: Eriklik, the dacha built for Empress Maria Alexandrovna near Livadia
Eriklik was the name of a dacha, built for Empress Maria Alexandrovna (1824-1880), wife of Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881), near Livadia in Crimea. The dacha was built on the advice of her physician Dr. Sergei Petrovich Botkin (1832-1889) [father of Dr. Eugene Botkin (1865-1918), who was murdered with Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks on 17th July 1918] , who recommended that the Empress spend autumn and winter in the south, where the mountainous and coniferous air would benefit her declining health.
The construction of the dacha involved designer A.I. Rezanov and the famous architects A.G. Vincent , V.I.Sychugov, and was built between April-August 1872.
A beautiful park parterre with a system of paths and a round fountain were arranged in front of the dacha, the vegetation was cleared in order to maximize the panoramic view of the mountains and the Black Sea. The architectural complex was created by assimilating the nature of Crimea set against the symbolic views of the mountain landscape.
PHOTOS: Emperor Nicholas II at the fountain in the garden at Eriklik, 1914
The wooden one-story dacha, consisted of three wings, connected to each other and 8-10 rooms. The Empress’s rooms faced the most beautiful views, an adjoining room was reserved for the dining room, behind it were the rooms for Alexander II. The servants’ quarters were located behind the Empress’s rooms. The dacha had a wooden patio. The dacha also included a wooden veranda, a gazebo in the garden and several outbuildings.
After the death of Maria Alexandrovna, the palace remained empty. During their stays in Crimea, Nicholas II with his family, often visited Eriklik, where they enjoyed quiet walks and picnics.
PHOTO: the Imperial Family visits Eriklik in May 1914
On 28th May 1914, three days before leaving the Crimea, the Tsar’s family arrived in Eriklik for breakfast. They were joined by other members of the Russian Imperial family who were staying at their respective Crimean residences at Ai-Todor, Kharax and Kichkine, as well as officers of the Imperial Yacht Standart. After breakfast, everyone walked together and relaxed in the garden. Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna noted in her diary that the day was “warm and sunny”. It was to be their last journey to Crimea.
Following the 1917 Revolution, a health resort for tuberculosis patients was opened in the dacha. At the beginning of the 20th century, the wooden dacha fell into decay, and in the middle of the 20th century was demolished.
© Paul Gilbert. 23 December 2020
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