As you approach Karachay-Cherkessia, the landscape changes significantly. Space seems to regain its fullness, mountains on the horizon circumscribe the boundaries of the visible, the air becomes thicker, and large clouds move through the sky at a high speed. Everything becomes brighter and less ambiguous—not just the daylight (although contrasts are undoubtedly more intense here), but also the polarity and concentration of life. We drove past local villages (auls) to reach the hotel complex at Adiyukh, thirty kilometers from the center of Cherkessk. It’s like a Turkish all-inclusive hotel and, in the spirit of Russia’s recent confrontation with Turkey, we pass through a checkpoint to enter the hotel grounds. At reception I asked, heaven knows why, whether we were the only clients in the hotel, and it turned out that we were—on a territory of seven hectares or so. This made things seem even more exotic. Some steps in the grounds of this Cherkessian Versailles leads to the tower of Adiyukh where, according to legend, a beautiful woman waited for her beloved, illuminating the way with the light of her dazzling white hands (Cherkessian women are famous for their white skin). Like all romantic legends, the story ends tragically with the heroine’s death.