Yalta's bay on a 1.5m panorama

MITKIN, Mikhail

Obshchii vid Ialty

[General View of Yalta]

Publication: [Yalta, 1890s].

MITKIN, Mikhail, Obshchii vid Ialty

Fine and scarce photographic view of the famous Crimean coastal town. In an attractive binding of the time.

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Our Notes & References

A fine, wide panorama of the famous Crimean resort, well preserved and here strikingly presented in full-morocco covers. Rarely found.

The large panorama shows an early general view of the coast of Yalta from the Aleksandrovskaia embankment (now Lenin embankment) to the waterfront street of Bulvarnaia (now Roosevelt Street). Covering a territory of over one kilometre, the photo shows the famous resort before the 1927 Crimean earthquake and WWII destroyed most of its original architecture. The photographer managed to capture the commercial, mercantile and religious activity of the city through its buildings, as well as recreation areas, bathhouses, and cafés, only a few of which have survived to this day.

Standing out from the rest of the waterfront architecture are the large buildings of the first fashionable hotels in Yalta: “Rossiia,” “Tsentralnaia,” “Edinbourg,” and “Frantsia.” Established in the 1870s through the 1880s, these hotels soon became a focal point for the visiting elite, attracting guests with luxurious accommodations similar to those of European hotels.

Another important historical landmark is the first cathedral of Yalta, the Church of St. John Chrysostom, here clearly visible on Polikurovskii Hill in the last section of the photograph. Below, along the Aleksandrovskaia embankment, the panorama shows, from left to right: the “house with caryatids,” a wooden café, a chapel in memory of the murdered Emperor Alexander II, bathhouses, Baron Petr Vrangel’s dacha with its clock tower, Count Mordvinov’s tennis park, and a local bazar. Several residential buildings are also visible nearby, on the right side of the photograph. The panorama also shows locals, dock workers, and sailors, as well as yachts, boats, steamboats, and ships, either docked or in the harbour. Signs in different languages are clearly seen on several buildings.

Mikhail Mitkin was a noted local photographer and founder of one of the first photography studios in Yalta. He produced a few such panoramas of the southern coast of Crimea, and other views of Crimean cities, as well as of numerous palaces of the Russian nobility.

Yalta was granted city status on September 17, 1838, a few decades after Catherine the Great incorporated the Crimean Peninsula into the Russian Empire. In the following years, under the rule of Count Mikhail Vorontsov, the city emerged as an exclusive resort for members of the Russian Royal Family. At the time of this photograph, Yalta became the scene of massive construction projects, further reinforcing the city’s reputation as the leading tourist destination of the Russian Empire and a major and fashionable health resort.

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Physical Description

Photographic panorama (ca. 20 x 153 cm) made of 6 sections of albumen prints mounted on original card (ca. 31.5 x 162.5 cm), cloth strip to folds, photographer’s signature impressed to first and last section.


Original dark red full morocco with gilt-lettered title and ornaments to upper cover, blind-stamped ornament to lower cover.


Binding a bit rubbed or scratched, spine extremities lightly frayed; one section slightly detached, lightly age-toned at folds, but overall in very good condition, with contrast still well marked.

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