Tiny Castle Lastochkino Gnezdo – Swallow's Nest, located on the top of the cliff, some 40 meters above the top of the Black Sea, in Crimea, Ukraine, is one of the most romantic places on Earth. Sometimes it is also referred to as a "Castle of Love". Numerous legends follow the history of the Swallow's Nest. One of them tells about young and courageous man, deep in love and rejected by the girl of his dreams. To win lady's heart, young man used to race his noble horse up the cliff and jump down. Only his infinite love and magic power of the “Castle of Love” kept him safe and sound over and over again.
Tiny wooden cottage was built on the top of Aurora Cliff at the end of XIX century for the general, hero of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Structure was called “Generalif” or “Castle of Love”. That was the Castle depicted in the pictures of famous marine-painters: I. Ayvazovsky, L. Lagorio, and A. Bogolyubov.
A. Tobin the doctor of the court of the Russian tsar became the second owner of the Castle. He willed it to his young and beautiful wife, who in 1903 sold it to the Moscow tradeswoman Rakhmanova. In 1911 Rakhmanova sold her castle to the German oilman Baron von Steinhel, who was famous for developing Baku oilfields. Baron wished to have some memories of knightly castles of his native country. Thus, in 1912, a miniature castle in Gothic style was built on the Aurora Rock in place of the wooden cottage and again it was named “Castle of Love”,
Little structure is measuring only 20 m (66 ft) long by 10 m (33 ft) wide and 12 m high. Its original design envisioned a foyer, guest room, stairway to the tower, and two bedrooms on two different levels within the tower. The interior of the guest room is decorated with wooden panels; the walls of the rest of the rooms are stuccoed and painted. An observation deck rings the building, providing a view of the sea, and Yalta's distant shoreline.
At the beginning of the First World War of 1914 Baron von Steinhel sold the building to a tradesman P. Shelaputin to be used as a restaurant.
For a short time after the 1917 Russian Revolution, the building was used only as a tourist attraction. In 1927, the Swallow's Nest survived a serious earthquake rated at 6 to 7 on the Richter scale.
The building was not damaged apart from some small decorative items that were thrown into the sea along with a small portion of the cliff. However, the cliff itself developed a huge crack. It was closed shortly thereafter as a safety precaution due to the damage it had suffered in the quake, remaining closed for the next 40 years.
Renovation and restoration of the building was started only in 1968. The project involved the restoration of a small portion of the castle and the addition of a monolithic console concrete plate to strengthen the cliff. Since 1975, an Italian restaurant has operated within the building.
As I mentioned above – building always drew immense attention from the artists. Below are some wonderful samples.
Artist Yuri Zavalny
Artist Tatiana Sopina
I started this post with the legend about young courteous man. Unfortunately, the legend does not tell what happened at the end, but I am pretty sure they lived happily ever after.
Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone! And may love and romance be with you every step of your life's path!
Compliments of Marina Gavrylyuk
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