In the 70s of the XIX century in Crimea, near Alushta, at the foot of Mt Kastel was founded Professorsky Ugolok (Professor`s Corner).
Then it was not merely a place where professors from various universities of the country came to spend a summer. Here appeared a peculiar «colony» of progressive scientists many of whom looked with hope upon not only the future of science but the future of new society which would open a wide scope for the free development of personality. And their hopes came true.
In the spring of 1872, the outstanding Russian geologist Professor Nikolai Golovkinsky came to Alushta. Upon viewing Mt Kastel and the adjoining area he wrote: «It is one of the most delightful spots I have ever seen, only the best places of Italy and Swiss can bear comparison with it. Here is everything that the felicitous combination in one and the same landscape of the blue sea, the wild rocky mountains and the southern vegetation can affords.
It happened so, that just at that time the owner of the Kastel estate put it on sale and it was bought jointly by Nikolai Golovkinsky, the Professor of histology Alexander Golubev and one of his acquaintances. Thus the Professors' Corner came into being. This village Lazurnoye. Here now stands a monument to Golovkinsky, main street has been named after him.
Nikolai Golovkinsky (1834 - 1897) contributed a great deal to the science of geology. At Kazan University, where he studied, he was greatly influenced by the prominent chemist Alexander Butlerov. However his passion for chemistry was replaced by another pursuit – geology, to which Golovkinsky devoted all his life. In his works «On the Post-Tertiary Formation along the Volga in the Middle of its Courses» and «On the Perm Formation in the Central Part of the Volga-Kama Basin» the scientist put forth and substantiated a number of serious theoretical theses that could be duly appreciated only by our contemporaries. Golovkinsky was the first to introduce into scientific literature the concept of facies and horizon. He also formulated the fundamental principles of the formation of sedimentary beds as well as the law of the formation of the schistose structure of the earth's crust.
In 1871, after leaving the University of Kazan as a token of protest against the reactionary policy in the system of education, Golovkinsky cast in his lot with the Novorossiysk University in Odessa, where he was the dean of the physical-mathematical faculty, rector, professor of mineralogy.
The scientist largely contributed to the exploration of the geological structure of the Crimean peninsula, its water sources, thus being one of the founders of hydro-geology in Russia.
The majority of the scientist's works on hydro-geology were created during the Crimean period of his life.
Professor Golovkinsky's house on Kastel became a gathering place for a number of scientists who came here to carry on research not only in the field of natural sciences, but in of history and archaeology. Some of the visitors were merely guests. A few of them will be told about further below.
Colovkinsky is also known as the author of the Guidebook to the Crimea one of the most complete and trustworthy. The compiling of the «Guidebook from Alushta to Sevastopol» for the participants in the 7th International Geological Congress which he was doing together with Professor Alexander Lagorio, at the request of Academician Alexander Karpinsky, was the scientist's last work. In the summer of 1897, two months before the opening of the Congress, Golovkinsky died.
In 1900 at the edge of the rock, where the scientist used to sit, a monument executed by A. Butkevich to the design of the architect K. Vasilyev was erected.
One of those who used to come to Professor Golovkinsky's hospitable house was the founder of comparative embryology and experimental and evolutionary histology Academician Alexander Kovalevsky (1840 - 1901). The scientist's first arrival took place in the summer of 1875. He made the acquaintance of Nikolai Golovkinsky still at Kazan University, later on they taught together at the Novorossiysk University where out of close in spirit professors formed the so-called «Sechenov's Circles» headed by the great physiologist Ivan Sechenov.
Many years Kovalevsky was influenced by the idea of creating a domestic scientific biological station that would be in no way inferior to the best foreign ones. In this respect the Sevastopol Biological Station owed a great deal to him. Alexander Kovalevsky was appointed its director in 1889, one year before his being elected an academician.
Linked with Professorsky Ugolok were the scientific career and many pages of life of Alexander Lagorio (1852-1917), a professor at Warsaw University. Petrology, the science treating of the constitution and origin of rocks was his lifetime pursuit. Lagorio travelled indefatigably all over the Crimean mountains where he was carrying on his investigations using the advanced method of microscopy. Of special value are his works on rocks of magmatic origin.
Alexander Lagorio was one of Golovkinsky's closest friends together with whom he carried out extensive researches.
The prominent specialist in the field of mineralogy Romul Prendel (1861 - 1904) for many years was teaching at the Novorossiysk now Odessa University. People knowing him well asserted that he could exactly define by a sample of stone the origin of the rock not infrequently he could even identify the pit the stone was brought from or the mine where it could be found. Prendel was Golovkinsky's disciple. He created together with him a mineralogical museum at the University, and when Golovkinsky had resigned, he headed the department.
Being engaged in the study of the mineralogical structure of the Crimean rocks Prendel examined in detail Mt Kastel. He wrote also a serious work that has not lost its importance to this day - The Geological Sketch of Chalk Formation of the Crimea.
The scientific merits of Nikolai Andrusov (1861 - 1924) are known: he was one of the founders of paleoecology. The activities in the Crimea was mainly the Kerch Peninsula the scientist carried out a whole complex of many-sided research.
The scientist has rightfully been called «the grandfather of sea geology». In 1890-1892 he undertook together with other two explorers an expedition to the Black Sea, which made known the fact that the waters of the sea below the depth of 200m and in some places of 100m are devoid of oxygen being saturated with hydrogen supplied. Nikolai Andrusov put forward the idea of the complex study of seas and oceans and the creation for this purpose of a floating sea institute. The first ship of this kind in the country became in 1923 «Persey» and thirty years later - «Vityaz».
This is the north-eastern verge of the village of Lazurnoye. If you go from it along the new road to the opposite south-western side you will see another old stone house surrounded by a somewhat neglected park. Previously here was the estate of Professor Alexander Golubev.
Alexander Golubev (1836 - 1926) devoted all his life to histology, the science treating of tissues of multicultural organisms and those of man. Having graduated from Kazan University, medical faculty, where he made the acquaintance of Golovkinsky, A. Golubev practiced as a physician in Siberia for several years, then went to St Petersburg. Here he became a professor at the Medical-Surgical Academy where he gave lectures on general and specific histology. They were published and ran into several editions.
Golubev called his estate in Professorsky Ugolok «Kastel-Primorsky» - Seaside Kastel. Wife of Professor Golubev was Nadezhda Suslova. Nadezhda Suslova (1843 – 1918) was the first in Russia woman doctor.
Owing to the uncommon gifts she had displayed in study from childhood she passed the exams for the course of secondary school without attending it and entered the Medical-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg as an external student. Delivering lectures here were Professor Sechenov and his eminent colleagues who welcomed in every way possible the striving of women to get higher education.
In 1863, Suslova went to Switzerland where she was by a way of exception admitted to the medical faculty of Zurich University. She graduated from the University with the title of doctor of medicine and returned to Russia. Accompanying her was her husband - the young scientist Friedrich Guldreich Erisman who was the founder of science of hygiene. In Russia he was called Fodor Erisman.
Very soon Suslova won prominence practicing medicine to which she devoted much effort and time. In 1885 she married (for the second time) Professor Golubev and seven years later settled with him in «KasteI- Primorsky».
Among the welcome guests who used to come to Professorsky Ugolok and stay with the Golubevs were Ivan Sechenov (1829 - 1905) whom we have already mentioned and his wife Maria.
In the 1870s, being a professor at the Novorossiysk University, Sechenov made his first trip to the Crimea and took a lifetime liking to it.
The Sechenovs visited the Crimea several times and when Ivan Mikhailovich was no more his widow came here alone. «I love the Crimea and it does not lose its beauty for me in comparison with ltaly», - she wrote.
The house in which Golubev and Suslova lived has been preserved to this day.
In the 80s of the last century a villa was built in Professorsky Ugolok by the outstanding Russian philologist Alexander Kirpichnikov (1845—1903) whose book «The Syntax of the Russian Language» in its time ran into twenty editions. Written by him were also the biographical series devoted to Heinrich Heine, George Gordon Byron, Victor Hugo and Walter Scott. He was one of the authors of the fundamental work «The Etymology of the Russian Languages».
A professor at the Novorossiysk and later Moscow University A. Kirpichnikov was in his contemporaries' opinion an excellent and outstanding specialist in the field of the two philological sciences - history of literature and bibliography. The multivolume «Universal History of Literatures», which he edited and published jointly with the other prominent scholar Valery Korsh, was his life-work.
The villa of the noted art critic Nikodim Kondakov (1844 - 1925) on the western slope of Mt Kastel has not survived.
Associated with the name of Kondakov is a whole epoch in the history of ancient Russian and Byzantine arts. The numerous monuments of culture of Kievan Rus, the Caucasus, the Crimea, the countries of the Middle East were described by him. He worked out the comparative iconographic method that was in keeping with the peculiarities of ancient art of different countries. Academician Fyodor Uspensky said of Kondakov: «In the history of Byzantine archaeology and art he held the most honorable place not only among us, his scientific importance has been firmly established far beyond the borders of Russia».
In one of the wildest rocky places of Kastel known under the name of Temir-Khapu (Iron Gate) the outstanding physicist, a professor at the Novorossiysk University, later on at Moscow University Nikolai Umov (1846 - 1914) built his villa. The scientist became known not only as a prominent theoretician in the field of physics, but as an excellent teacher and organizer.
The range of scientific discoveries made by N. Umov is extremely wide. His works deal with the theory of electrical magnetism and the laws of energy spread of interacting bodies, the concept of energy flux and the concomitant pulse connected with it has been introduced by him into science. The vector of the energy flux density has been called «Umov's vectors».
Bahar-Dereh, or Spring Valley, so the villa of the most prominent physicist-chemist Nikolai Beketov (1827-1911) was called.
Nikolai Beketov was visited by his brother, also an academician he outstanding botanist and geographer Andrei Beketov (1825 - 1902), one of the founders of evolutionary geography and morphology of plants.
The academician in architecture Alexei Beketov (1862-1941) - Nikolai Beketov's son. The building of the M. Gorky Drama Theatre in Simferopol built in 1911 was designed by him as were several buildings in Professorsky Ugolok, in Kerch, Kharkov and other cities of the country.
Many representatives of the progressive Russian intelligentsia: the well-known writers, men of science and culture lived in Professorsky Ugolok or visited it at some time or other. Among them were Dmitri Tikhomirov who devoted many years of his life to people's education and was responsible for the organization of the first in Russia evening schools for workers, the writer Evgeni Markov, the author of the poetically written «Sketches of the Crimea», the woman researcher of the Crimea's archaeology and author of one of the first guidebooks to the Crimea Maria Slavich-Sosnogorova.