In 1828, the estate Massandra entered the Alupka estate of Count M. Vorontsov, which occupied the territory from the seashore to mountain ranges. An English park was laid out in Lower Massandra. It perfectly combined flowering fields with picturesque groves of subtropical trees - pines, cedars, magnolias. An extensive rose garden consisted of up to 900 varieties of roses. Araucaria plantings were the largest in the Crimea. Massandrovsky Park played a prominent role in the development of park building and manor gardening of the South Coast.
Above the park stretched Middle Massandra with orchards, vineyards and tobacco plantations. Here, by order of MS Vorontsov, in the 30s a wine cellar was built, where the glory of Massandra wines was laid. Upper Massandra was designed as a kind of landscape reserve. Magnificent meadows with vast terraces climbed to the very foot of the mountains, deciduous forests alternated with pine, juniper and yew. The gray blocks of rocks with mysterious stone grottoes stood out picturesquely against their background. It was here that the manor house was built with a high base and an open gallery.
Next to the house among the age-old walnut and oak trees, the architect F. F. Elson built a church in 1832 in memory of the Beheading of John the Baptist. She was a Greek temple with an elegant portico. All-Crimean fairs were held every year on church holidays near the church. Later, under Semen Mikhailovich Vorontsov, the estate expanded grape and tobacco plantations, and a magnificent palace-castle was built in Gornaya Massandra by architect M. E Bugarola, the project of which was taken by the famous French castles located along the Loire Valley. In 1881 the first laying of the palace was made. However, due to the death of the architect first, and soon the customer himself, the work was suspended for ten years.
After the death of S.M. Vorontsov acquires Massandra in 1889 Alexander III and entrusts architect M.Е. Mesmacher. The architect is actively involved in the work, construction is proceeding at a rapid pace, but the sudden death of the emperor (1894), and later on, the rather cool attitude of Nicholas II to the financing of construction, postpones its ending by 1902.
The palace was built 20 years. The palace was not occupied and was used by the royal family as a summer destination. But the place itself with the fabulous castle became extremely popular among residents and vacationers of the South Coast. At the beginning of the century, “extremely interesting excursions” were held here, in the words of the local newspaper “Yalta Voice”. After nationalization, the palace was used as a sanatorium, for a long time was included in the system of state summer houses, and in 1991 became the museum of Alexander III, a branch of the Alupka Museum-Reserve. Gradually, but steadily, the palace and park complex in Massandra returns to its former glory. In recent years, the waterproofing has been restored, the ground floor has been renovated; beautiful statues have been cleared of contamination, and the stalls are being revived with a wonderful rose garden. The popularity of the Massandra Palace is growing and, as in the old days, the holidaymakers of Greater Yalta tend to visit this reserved corner.