Fairytale castles in Russia: the stuff of dreams

7 Russian fairytale castles that guidebooks are hiding from you

7 Russian fairytale castles that guidebooks are hiding from you

Ever dreamed of taking a stroll around a fairytale-like castle? We give you seven options to live the dream.

Vorontsovsky Palace in Alupka

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Legion-MediaSource: Shutterstock/Legion-Media

The Vorontsovsky Palace, located at the foot of the Ai-Petri peak, is a stunning blend of traditional European, English Renaissance-style architecture and Mauritanian and even Arabic motifs. From the time it was constructed in 1848 up to the revolution of 1917, the palace served as a residence for three generations of the Vorontsov family nobility. 

The interior of the palace is exuberantly decorated. Winston Churchill stayed here during the Yalta Conference in 1945.

The best time of year for a visit is May and June when the Italian Renaissance Park is flush with the lush blooming rhododendrons.

Dulber Palace in Yalta

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich, the uncle of Tsar Nicholas II (last Russian emperor), was so greatly impressed by the architecture of the Middle East and the Maghreb that he ordered a palace to be built based on the drawings he had made during his journeys through those regions. Today, Dulber is one of Yalta's premium-class health spas.

This Eastern fairytale Fata Morgana is easily accessible to tourists: you can take a bus from the Yalta Embankment to the sanatorium and then arrange a guided tour of the grounds.

Massandra Palace in Crimea

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

Resembling the set of a Cinderella movie, the Massandra Palace is an entire palette of epochs and styles: architects of various eras and backgrounds have been involved in construction of the palace, although none of them ultimately realized their projects.

State dignitaries have tried to make use of the castle in a number of ways: Tsar Alexander III wanted to use it as a hunting lodge, while Soviet leader Joseph Stalin turned the architectural landmark into a state dacha.

The palace is located around five kilometres away from Yalta at the Verkhnyaya (Upper) Massandra bus stop. You can take a shuttle minibus or a trolleybus to get here.

Obyknovennoe Chudo (Ordinary Miracle) School in Yoshkar-Ola

Source: mirkrasiv.ruSource: mirkrasiv.ru

An ordinary secondary school in Yoshkar-Ola has turned into a fairytale castle with the efforts of local businessman Sergei Mamayev, who wanted to make his wife's dream come true. As a teacher, she dreamed of working in a school that children would enjoy going to.

Between 1998 and 2001, a construction team erected a castle for little princes and princesses, with a swimming pool, a well-equipped gym and even an in-house dressage centre — all in the finest traditions of knighthood. 

Kiritsy Castle in the Ryazan Region

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

Kiritsy castle, located 50 kilometres from Ryazan, was designed and built by the Russian architect Fyodor Schechtel. The design of this fairytale mansion made the young architect famous, but sent its owner, the Russian Count von Derviz, into bankruptcy in the 1910s.

The Kiritsy Castle today houses a sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis of the bone. Unfortunately, the castle is no longer open to the public, so be prepared to admire the fairytale towers from a distance.

Garibaldi Castle in the Samara Region

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

The shore of the Kuybyshev Reservoir in the town of Khryashchevka in Samara is headlined by the "Garibaldi Castle"  – a tourist complex currently under construction. A night in the royal chambers will be available to tourists as early as 2018. However, you can come in for a medieval photo session now while the designers are putting the finishing touches on the palatial interiors.

If you like sports, then harness the wind with the help of the local windsurfing school Sila Vetra (Wind Power). The Pyany Mys (Drunken Cape) surf station can provide you with all the necessary equipment. 

Factory castle in Moscow

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

The Factory castle in the Yauza River valley was not built with fairytales in mind. The facility was used as a light-bulb factory in the 1930s. Today, it hosts loft-style offices, coffee shops, photo studios and small-batch manufacturers. The industrial halls of this neo-Gothic castle are so spacious that you can ride a bike in them.

Albeit simplified and deprived of high towers and fancy rose windows that were included in the original design  by architect Georgy Yevlanov, the layout of Factory castle still holds up when compared to Moscow's other neo-Gothic landmarks.

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