Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Swallow’s Nest Castle


~*~ The Swallow’s Nest Castle ~*~ 

Built in 1912 near Yalta in the South of Crimea, the Swallow’s Nest is one of the most romantic castles. Was originally named “The Castle of Love.” However, the romantically named “Love Castle” started with humble beginnings as a wooden cottage. There is little proof that this “Castle of Love” was built for a great love . . . more like a lover’s nest. 


The first building on the Aurora Cliff was constructed for a Russian general circa 1895. The first structure he built was a wooden cottage romantically named the "Love Castle." Later on, the ownership of the cottage passed to A. K. Tobin, a court doctor to the Russian Tsar. 


The legend of Swallow’s Nest goes to the medieval times. Once the famous Russian general brought a beautiful captive from war. In honor of his last the most romantic love he built the unusual castle over sea abyss for the girl. It is unknown, if the girl loved the general, but once, when the famous warrior returned from the battle bleeding, wounded, but alive, he did not find his beloved there. Maybe she escaped with Turkish smugglers or jumped to the sea abyss, having not awaited her general, who knows? 


This legend is told to the curious tourists by Crimeans. We do not know, if it is true. However, in the oldest Crimean guide it is said that at the end of the 19th century the house for general seriously wounded during Russian-Turkish campaign was really built on the edge of Avrorianska rock. It was a wooden building with veranda over the sea. Local residents called it "Generalif" or "Castle of Love". Brave and romantic castle "Generalif" was immortalized on the pictures of marine painter Aivazovskyi, artists Lagorio and Bogoliubov. 
(this portrait below maybe it, not sure) 


In 1911, Baron von Steingel, a Baltic German noble who had made a fortune extracting oil acquired the timber cottage and within a year had it replaced by the current building. 


In 1914, von Steinheil sold the building to P. G. Shelaputin to be used as a restaurant. For a short time after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the building was used only as a tourist attraction. In the 1930s, the building was used by a reading club. 


In 1927, Swallow's Nest survived a serious earthquake rated at 6 to 7 on the Richter scale. The building was not damaged, except for some small decorative items that were a part of the balcony was thrown into the sea along with a small portion of the cliff. However, the Aurora Cliff developed a huge crack. 


For a long time, Swallow's Nest was closed to the public due to the damage it suffered in that quake. During civil war the castle on the rock remained empty. The huge crack closed the castle for the next 40 years. 


The cliff and castle restoration was started in only 1968. Since 1975 an Italian restaurant has operated within the building. Swallow's Nest was also featured in several Soviet films. 


The public flocks to Swallow’s Nest Castle to look over Ai–Todor Cape, the Black Sea, and to dine in the restaurant now within the castle’s walls. It was used as the setting of Desyat Negrityat, the Soviet screen version of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. The Swallow's Nest Castle and the surrounding landmarks such as the Massandra palace were also shortly featured in a Jackie Chan film. 


There are actually a lot of swallows and white-winged seagulls near the Castle of Love. If you bend over the balcony and look down, it seems that you also turn into the bird, who flies to the blue height, to red sun on the morning horizon having touched water with its wing.


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