The first prijut was built between 1937 and 1939. In November 1942, German soldiers (Edelweiss Division) came here on a brief advance and set their flag on the summit of Elbrus. The Prijut was destroyed down to the foundation wall. Soviet partisans removed the Nazi flag in February 1943. After the war a new, much larger Prijut was built, streamlined, metal-clad, three-story. It is called the “highest mountain hotel in the world” (Figs. 13 and 14). In any case, the Prijut is a good, very useful hut. But there are higher ones, e.g. B. at Chimborazo in Ecuador at 5000 m altitude.
The Elbrus in legends and sagas
There are many legends and sagas surrounding the Elbrus.
PROMETHEUS is said to have been chained to the summit. He had brought fire to the people here and thus violated a command from the father of gods Zeus. As a punishment, he was forged high up on the rocks where the vultures tore at his liver. But one day HERACLES came and set him free. But so that the judgment of Zeus did not remain unfulfilled, PROMETHEUS had to wear an iron ring from then on, on which there was a stone from that Caucasus rock.
ODYSSEY must also have been in the Caucasus. Odyssey III speaks of roaring meat on skewers that was pulled down after roasting and shared with strangers at the banquet.
STRABON, the great geographer of antiquity, handed down that the Caucasus lies over the seas, the Pontic and Caspian, and runs like a wall over the isthmus that separates them (Pontos Euxeinos = Black Sea).
ATTILA the mighty mountain (Elbrus) instilled fear and terror so that it never tried to conquer the Caucasus.
The most commonly told legend is the following:
Beschtau, Son of Elbrus, loved a pretty eighteen-year-old girl named Maschuk. When Bestau had to lead his father’s army to war, he gave Maschuk a magic ring that was supposed to protect their love. Elbrus found out about the beautiful Maschuk and wanted to own her. But this was safely protected by the ring. Finally Elbrus discovered the secret of the ring and tore it from Maschuk’s finger. But it rolled to Kislovodsk and became a ring mountain there. When Beschtau found out about the outrage after his return, there was a terrible duel with his father. Elbrus lost his helmet, from which the Eisenberg arose. In the end, Beschtau was divided into five by the father. The Beschtau Mountain with its five peaks was formed from it. The healing spring at the foot of the mountain was created from the tears of the Maschuk. A snake wanted to bring Bestau refreshment. But Elbrus had assigned a lion to guard Maschuk. The lion killed the snake and the snake mountain was created. Maschuk, petrified to a mountain, remained behind. Elbrus himself withdrew bitterly into his marble palace in the coldMountains back where he fell asleep until the people woke him up.
This would explain the formation of the mountains in the bathing triangle of the Caucasus foreland. According to another tradition, it remains to be added that Beschtau remained the stronger in the fight and divided the father in two, which would also indicate the double summit of Elbrus.
Until recently such narratives have been carried on, changed and supplemented; New legends are added:
Narsan, the tasty mineral water from the numerous springs in the volcanic rock of Elbrus, is said to have arisen from tears that a young warrior shed at the disgrace that enemies broke into his beautiful homeland, defeated him and chained him to the Caucasus rocks to have.
Years ago, the cruel Prince Sultanov is said to have ruled the Jusengi Gorge, which comes down from the Becho Pass to the Bagsantal. He had a very pretty daughter, Fatima, whom he had closely guarded. Nevertheless, Fatima met a young shepherd, Boris, and fell in love with him. Boris finally kidnapped Fatima and brought her to the upper gorge, where he built the house “Jusenga” (“Here is your house”). They lived happily there and had 10 children. Since then, the valley has also been called the “love gorge” (Fig. 15).
In 1984, during the international Alpinade, a German participant claims to have seen clear traces of a Yeti in the saddle between the double summit of Elbrus. The fantastic reports from the Pamirs at that time had thus also reached the Caucasus. Or was it just the faded traces of yaks that brought equipment to the Sedlovina refuge years ago?
The 70-year-old French MARIE-JEANNE KOFFMANN, who has been researching the “snowman” whom she called Almasty for a quarter of a century, has often been to the Caucasus. Although she has an exact idea of him, even after the 1992 expedition she was unable to produce any indisputable documents about his existence.
The truth of such traditions may be disputed. They are part of the color scheme of this region and underline its sublime, unique beauty (Fig. 16).