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The Castle of Treachery and Love
June 2, 2015 15:15


The name of this place alone already dooms it to popularity: a castle, love, treachery - sounds like a dramatic passion. You expect something medieval and fatal, some sort of “Game of Thrones” and a long story. However, the reality proves that there is nothing historical here, you’ll have to believe in love and treachery on bare words, for the Castle of Treachery and Love is a popular restaurant and a hotel complex.

“The Castle” was a traditional name of a small rock in the gorge of the Alikonovka River resembling a castle with spires and turrets by its contours. This work of nature was formed as the result of weathering of soft rock - the local rocks are made of dolomitic limestone. The name spread also to the valley next to the rock, where there are two popular restaurants, a hotel and a couple of other natural attractions. It seems that the rock of an unusual shape and a couple of restaurants are not enough to include these objects into all sightseeing tours of Kislovodsk.

However, the castle is located in a very beautiful place: the Alikonovskoe Gorge spreads towards Karachay-Cherkessia and already gives an impression of the special flavor of the Caucasus Mountains.

This gorge belongs to Kislovodsk, although it is located at a distance of about 10 minutes drive from the city. Kislovodsk itself is located at a fairly high altitude, it has its own “local” mountains, but a real full-flex Caucasus can be seen and felt in the Alikonovskoe Gorge.

A real restaurant “The Castle” located in wooden houses opened there already at the end of XIX century. Fortunately, the Soviet government did not consider meals of national cuisine eaten among the beautiful surroundings to be a bourgeois fancy. On the contrary: in 1939 they built a stylized castle restaurant with a silhouette repeating that of the rock instead of wooden houses. As a result, the new building had the romantic chivalrous spirit, although Caucasian combat towers would probably look more natural - there were many of them around at that time.

The castle was made of brick and tiled with local stone (Kislovodsk dolomite), and the construction fit into the surrounding area very naturally. The restaurant in “The Castle” was the most elite institution in the city, as legendary as the restaurant in Swallow’s Nest (which is, however, a monument of both architecture and history). The Soviet “elite” celebrated here, and having a meal in “The Castle” was an extraordinary event for an ordinary tourist or a city resident.


So, let’s talk about the legend of treachery and love.

Once upon a time there lived a rich prince in these places, and the prince had a daughter Dauta, she was a beauty, as usual. A young shepherd Ali, too young and handsome but poor, fell in love with her. The prince’s daughter felt the same to him. The prince did not see the shepherd as a match to his daughter, he chose another wealthy prince as a husband for his daughter, although that fiancé was far from young. Ali and Dauta tried to escape, but they were chased by the people of the prince. The young men came to the edge of the abyss and realized that there was no way further.

Then Ali and Dauta agreed that it was better to die together than to be separated and decided to jump into the abyss. Ali rushed deathwarts with words of love, while Dauta stayed and looked at him, and realized that she did not want to die at that moment. She returned to his father and married the rich old prince. And the rocks with turrets that witnessed the heartbreaking story were called “The Castle of Treachery and Love”.

They also say that after the story of Ali and Dauta men always let the women come first. According to one version of the legend, Dauta quickly repented and died a year later, tormented by the feeling of guilt. Her father, too, could not recover from the grief and, being inconsolable, turned to stone - his profile can be seen in the outline of the cliff opposite to the restaurant.

The legend of Feodor Chaliapin is more plausible and positive. They say he celebrated in the restaurant “The Castle” (which is probable, for he had a villa in Kislovodsk - now it is the museum of Chaliapin, not far from the railway station). There are two grottoes next to the restaurant, on the left side in the rock.

Feodor Ivanovich climbed into one of them and sang the aria “Demon” from the eponymous opera by Anton Rubinstein in his unique bass – so to say, he enlivened the scene. The grotto partially collapsed with time, but it kept the name – Demon’s Grotto.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kislovodsk     

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