The name Beshtau comes from the Turkic “beş” meaning “five” and “tau” meaning “mountain.” Here, at the foot of Mount Mashuk, the last duel of the Russian poet Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov took place. Arriving in Pyatigorsk in May 1841 for his second exile to the Caucasus, Lermontov fell ill and was prescribed treatment at the waters. However, the poet stayed in Pyatigorsk, where he met his old comrade Nikolai Martynov, whom he had first met in 1832 while preparing for the lieutenant exams. Martynov dressed like a Circassian and looked like a romantic hero, reminding Lermontov of Grushnitsky from “A Hero of Our Time.” This made him a target for the poet’s biting jokes. One of these jests served as the pretext for the duel, which took place on July 25, 1841. Martynov shot first, and Lermontov was killed on the spot.

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