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Big Caucasus: the Gunib Plateau and Gazebo of Shamil
April 14, 2017 16:40


(Source: http://shahtamanova.livejournal.com)

 The Gunib Plateau is a vast flat top of the Gunib Mountain of the Big Caucasus rising between the rivers of Avarskoe Koisu and Karakoisu.

The plateau stretches from West to East and is surrounded by the natural walls of limestone sheer drops. Thus, it resembles an island raised above the ground to a height of 1,500 meters and represents a natural fenced fortress.

Gunib has waterfalls and springs, forests and subalpine meadows, the air is curative here, there are more than 300 days of sunshine per year, so according to climatic conditions and qualities, the plateau can be compared to the Swiss Davos and domestic Teberda. It was for the first time used as a health resort during the second half of the 19th century, right at the end of the Caucasian war which determined the particular historical value of Gunib: in 1859 the plateau became the place of the final battle between the forces of the Imam Shamil and the troops of the General Baryatinsky.

The confrontation ended with the capture of Shamil, which dropped a curtain over the half-century Caucasian war. The monuments to the Caucasian war are the main attractions of the Gunib Plateau.

The Gunib mountain village

The Gunib mountain village (aul) where Shamil was hiding got virtually destroyed during the bloody battle. After the events a Gunib fortress with a Russian garrison was built there.

A fortress wall and its gates -  Lower Gates of Baryatinsky and the Upper Gates of Shamil – have preserved. Another monument near the Fortress of Gunib is the Tsar’s Glade linked to the Emperor Aleksandr II. The Tsar traveled to the Caucasus in 1871 and gave a breakfast for the officers here. The royal meal took place under field conditions, because there was not even a required number of tables and chairs throughout the district. 

Today the mountain village of Gunib is divided into two villages — the old Verkhny Gunib and newer Nizhny Gunib existing from 1862 onwards and concentrating the modern life. Verkhny Gunib and its surroundings have a special protected status of a Natural Park. The territory of the Park includes the Soviet Tourist Centre called “Eagle’s Nest” and the children’s health resort called “Gunib”.

The villages Verkhny Gunib and Nizhny Gunib are connected by a serpentine road. A Park of Victory named after Rasul Gamzatov, dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War, stands between them, and has a magnificent viewing platform and a monument to “White Cranes”. Several kilometers away from the mountain village of Gunib there is a  Mountain Botanical Garden. 

Gazebo of Shamil

The main attraction of Gunib is most commonly called the gazebo (or the rotunda) of Shamil, pushing aside another Hero of the events that happened here on August 25, 1859 - the Prince Baryatinsky. Baryatinsky’s Stone and the Gazebo of Shamil are one and the same thing.

The rotunda named after the legendary Imam was erected in 1893 over the boulder near which the Prince Baryatinsky waited for the surrender of the defeated Shamil. The gazebo is situated on the territory of Verkhny Gunib, below the historical settlement destroyed during the four-day battle. A trail from the Gunib Victory Park leads to it.

The construction itself was restored in early 2000s, since the gazebo was blasted by the Wahhabite extremists in 1995. This was not the first attempt to destroy the monument; it was attempted in the 1920s, during the mountain rebellions. It is noteworthy that the boulder itself always remained intact, and the gazebo has provided to be more vulnerable.

The dome was initially topped by a bronze double-headed eagle, and a plaque with the inscription: “The General Field Marshal Aleksandr Baryatinskiy was sitting on this stone, taking the captive Shamil” was hanging on the wall next to a stone. The reconstructed rotunda is devoid of these details. 

 


Sources: http://strana.ru 


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Caucasus     

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