I would like to introduce you to a romantic little getaway sited on the cliffs of the Crimea.
In 1895 a Russian General built a small wooden cottage on the cliff which he romantically names the “Love Castle”.
In 1911 the German aristocrat, Baron von Steingel, bought the timber cottage. Von Steingel had made a fortune from the oil business in Baku. He set about building a love nest for his ballerina mistress. His intent explains the name of the folly. In Ukrainian “Maya Lastochka” or My Swallow is a term of affection. The fantasy castle was completed within a year.
In 1914, von Steinheil sold up (we do not know what became of the ballerina) and the Swallow’s nest because a restaurant and a tourist attraction. By the 1930 it was being used as a reading room for the local resort.
In September 1927 Yalta experienced a major earthquake measuring 6 to 7 on the Richter scale. The Swallow’s Nest itself suffered only minor damage but a large crack developed in the cliff. As a result the Swallow’s Nest was closed on safety grounds for nearly 40 years. A renovation programme initiated in 1967 included work to stabilise the cliff.
The building itself is tiny, just 20 m long and 10 m wide (ie 65 ft by 33 ft). The original design included a foyer, guest room, stairway to the tower, and two bedrooms on two different levels.
Its well worth a visit if you are in the area.