Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Swallow's Nest Castle


As we saw in class, the Swallow's Nest Castle is a popular landmark of Crimea. Before the castle was built, a small cottage occupied the cliff. It was built for a Russian general in 1895 and was called "The Love Castle". However, in 1911 a German man who had been very successful in the oil business purchased the cottage and within two years built the castle that we can see today. Over the years, the castle passed through many hands and had many different uses. It was a restaurant in 1914, a tourist spot in 1917 , and acted as the meeting place for a reading club in 1930.

The use of the building came to an abrupt halt in 1927. An earthquake judged to be a 6 or 7 on the Richter scale led to a large crack in the cliff the castle lies on. Renovation did not begin until 1968, and a majority of the work involved inserting a concrete plate to strengthen the cliff. It opened as an Italian restaurant in 1975 and still serves the tourists coming through.

Finally, there are many legends that come along with the castle. One of the funnier ones I found involves a young man in love who is rejected by his mistress. "Apparently", to win the girl's heart he continually rode a horse up to the cliff and then jumped off falling all the way to the sea. He always survived, and therefore that implies that his "infinite love and the magic/power of the castle" made him lucky enough to continually jump off the cliff. Below is a video of a tourist taking in the view:

3 comments:

Brittany said...

I thought that the Swallow's Nest Castle was an interesting topic when we learned about it in class, but that Legend makes it so much more exciting! I did some more research about the restaurant that is now in the castle after being intrigued by your post, and found that it is an Italian restaurant! Here is the review from http://www.artukraine.com/travel/crimea_guide.htm:
Yalta has some excellent Russian restaurants, but for the most spectacular plate with a view you should aim for the Swallow's Nest at Gaspra, five miles south of Yalta. Inside this folly, a Germanic castle that perches on a rocky outcrop over the sea, is an Italian restaurant.

Thanks for your great information!

Harrison Liss said...

I found the legend which was mentioned to be as little strange, but interesting nonetheless. The castle looks spectacular and its amazing how close to the cliff it actually is. I am surprised that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or 7 did not cause more substantial damage. In addition, I was surprised to learn that it is now an italian restaurant. I would have figured that such a landmark would boast more traditional food.

Dan Nye said...

Those Germans love their castles. You can tell this is in the Teutonic style, and it is extremely beautiful overlooking the water. This castle is also reminiscent of Neuschwanstein in south Germany.