- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
85

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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OVER THE CAUCASUS
85
greeting. That the fortress was built by her is not
very likely, but undoubtedly the fair queen’s strong
arm reached as far as this over the mountain
rampart, and her little well-shaped hand held the
key to the gate shutting the wild Darial gap and the
entrance to her kingdom.
Before wc reached the station farther on with
the nåme (which sounded so homelike) of Lars, a
bridge again took us over the stream to the left
side. In the narrow valley one saw watch-towers
here and there on jutting points of the mountain.
Then, as it widened out, the mountains grew lower,
and the slopes were clad with forest. Up on the
right hand was a fort. The mountains drew farther
and farther back, and the road went along between
forest-clad spurs.
The view now opened out on to the plain before
us; there lay the town of Vladikavkaz ("The ruler
of the Caucasus"), and wc whirled along over the
broad green flats smiling in the sunshine. The
deep, gloomy gorge that had brought us through
the mighty mountains was now behind us.
Wc reached the town about midday, håving
spent eight hours on one of the most remarkable
drives anywhere—hours filled with an unbroken
succession of new, and ever more overwhelming,
impressions, so that the mmd could barely take
them in. It was the same journey for which a
traveller in the ’thirties of last century had to spend
a whole month. 1 The restlessness of European
1 Cp. G. F. Lehmann-Haupt, Armenien Einst utid jetzt, 1910, vol. i,
P- 53-

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