The palace was built in the 16th century and became home to a succession of Crimean Khans (as in Genghis Khan), leaders of a Turkic Islamic Khanate.
Many of the islamic population was wiped out during the Crimean War, as the Russian Empire used it as an excuse to purge its lands of tartars and other non Christians.
Happily the palace was left largely untouched, a wonderful example of Islamic architecture.
Apparently Catherine the Great spared it from destruction during an earlier purge against Muslims, so beguiled was she by its beauty, and her successors honoured her decree.
We travelled there by train from Sevastopol in 2011.