The Konak (also known as the Government House) is an Ottoman-era building in central Thessaloniki. Originally built in 1891 as the residence (konak) of the governor-general (vali) of the Salonica Vilayet and the seat of the Ottoman authorities, it now houses the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace.
The Konak was built in 1891 by Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli. The architect chose eclecticism as the main style for the building, which combines elements of various architectural styles such as neoclassicism. It sits on top of the ruins of the imperial palace of the Byzantine Emperor in Thessaloniki, of which some remnants have been found near the building. When it was completed in the late 1890s, it only had three floors. The fourth floor, in neoclassical style, was added in 1955.
In 1907, the building housed the Ottoman School of Law, and in 1911 the Sultan Mehmed V Reshad stayed here during his visit to the city. During the First Balkan War, it was inside this building that the documents of the surrender of Thessaloniki were signed, making Thessaloniki part of the Kingdom of Greece. From 1912 to 1929 the building housed the Governorate-General of Macedonia. During the fire of 1917, the building sustained no damage, despite widespread devastation in the area, which destroyed much of the old city centre.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.