Miskhor (Half Town) is a resort situated between Yalta and Alupka. The first known inhabitants in these parts were the Tauri, then Romans built a fortress on Cape Ai-Todor, later it became the final home of veteran soldiers who had been given land for their feats of arms. In the Middle Ages the Romans withdrew from the Southern Coast and a monastery was founded by St. Fyodor Tyron on the promontory of Ai-Todor (Saint Theodore).
The Swallow’s Nest Among the architectural monuments of Crimea there is one which is really unusual. It is a castle on Cape Ai-Todor. Most of the tourists begin their tour of the Miskhor resort with the castle on the high promontory. The promontory is made up of three spurs. On the middle one stands one of the attractions called Lastochkino Gnezdo (Swallow’s Nest). Like a swallow’s nest it sticks, overlooking the sea, to the 38-metre-high cliff.
In the second half of the 18th century the property on Cape Ai-Todor changed its owners very often. Then it was bought by one of the oil industrialists baron Steingel. He, having a dream to build a romantic castle, signed a design contract with an engineer A. Sherwood. The “Castle of Love” or “Swallows Nest” was built in 1912. Its turrets, spires, crenellations and loopholes give an impression of unapproachable grandeur.
The castle with its picturesque masses, laid out of stone and lined with lime-stone, blends harmoniously with the cliff. Though it looks very fragile it survived a heavy earthquake of 1927. During the earthquake part of the base rock crumbled into the sea and access to the castle was closed.
After the design by engineer V. Timofeyev and architect I. Tatiyev in 1971 the rock was fortified with ferro-concrete constructions and the building itself, with anti-seismic bands.
The interiors and the decorative details of the facades were restored. There is a cafe inside now. The castle occupies the top of the highest, eastern spur of Cape Ai-Todor. It is an example of the Gothic style, because its owner was a German.
There is a beautiful park in Miskhor. It laid out at the end of the 18th century. The eastern part of the park is laid out in the regular French style, while the western part is in the free English style.