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The Swallow's Nest Yalta Castle

Even somebody who has never been on the south shore of Crimea knows one of the main symbols of this magnificent peninsula very well – a breathtaking castle clutched to the very edge of a high rock towering over blue seawater, its sharply ended spires seem to almost touch the Crimean sky that is similarly beautiful. This unusual location of the castle is the reason why it is called the Swallow's Nest, and its elegant neo-Gothic architecture gave it enormous popularity and made one of the most frequently photographed buildings in Crimea.

History of the Swallow's Nest

Although it looks like the seat of a medieval knight or an elegant lady, the Swallow's Nest can be called a castle conventionally. This unusual building served as a summer seaside villa from its earliest days. Such villas were popular among noblemen and wealthy merchants of the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century. The history of the Swallow's Nest dates back to the 1870s, when on the top of Aurora Cliff, part of the Aj-Todor Peninsula, the construction of a wooden building started. It belonged to a former Russian general whose name was unfortunately forgotten by history. The isolated location of the general's villa, romantic views of the sea from its windows, and the fact that the general himself called it the «Castle of Love» contributed to rumours that the Swallow's Nest was a place where the general met a mysterious lady.

After some years Adalbert Karlovic Tobin, a member of Yalta city council, who served as a doctor at the summer royal residence in Livadiya, became the villa’s owner. In his times a stone building was established in the place of the wooden villa, you can admire it on paintings by Aivazovsky and Bogolyubov. It was in that period when the villa finally got its nickname – “the Swallow's Nest”. This name appeared even in a guidebook from 1895. Near his house, between the lighthouse and the rock, the doctor established a small boarding house where wealthy patients from big cities were treated. After Tobin's death his wife took care of the villa for a short time. She sold the Swallow's Nest to a rich oil magnate, Baron Steingel. On the initiative of this host the villa was converted and gained its wonderful appearance that brings to mind knights castles in the Rhine Valley. (more)

What can you see there?

In the small rooms of this wonderful palace temporary exhibitions are displayed, they are changed several times in a year. Their topics vary: from art to archaeological and ethnographic exhibitions. Due to the building’s bad condition tourists do not have access to the castle observation deck but instead you can enjoy wonderful sea views from a nearby rock where additionally there is a breathtaking view of the castle itself.

You can visit the Swallow's Nest:

Daily – from 10:00 to 19:00, the castle premises are open until 21:00