The earliest structure on the site of Red Castle was built for King William the Lion in the late twelfth century to repel Viking invasions to Lunan Bay. Evidence shows, however, that William took up residence there on several occasions whilst on hunting expeditions. In 1194, William conferred the castle, and land surrounding the village of Inverkeilor, to Walter de Berkeley, the Great Chamberlain. On his death, his lands of Inverkeilor, with the castle, passed to Ingram de Balliol who had married the heiress of Walter. He rebuilt the castle and the property remained in that family for two generations. When his grandson, Ingram, who flourished between 1280-84, died childless about 1305 the property passed to the son of Constance de Baliol, Henry de Fishburn.
The property was forfeit during the reallocation by Robert the Bruce who in 1328 gave the castle to the Earl of Ross. The castle is referred to as rubeum castrum (Latin for Red Castle) in deeds of 1286, referring to its burnished red sandstone, typical of this area.
In 1579, James, son of Patrick Gray, 4th Lord Gray, married Lady Elizabeth Beaton, who owned the castle, and fell in love with her daughter. After Lady Beaton threw him out, Gray (with his brother Andrew of Dunninald) laid siege to the castle for two years, ultimately burning the inhabitants out. James VI ordered John Erskine of Dun and his son Robert to bring siege engines and eject Gray, with the help of the townspeople of Dundee. Erskine was asked to make an inventory of the goods in the castle and give safe conduct for Elizabeth Beaton's son, the poet John Stewart of Baldynneis to the king's presence.
In 1590 it was reported that 12,000 gold crowns had been landed in the creek near the castle to aid the Catholic cause in Scotland. The castle slipped into decline, and, although it remained partially roofed until 1770, it was never again a residence of nobility. Its last inhabitant was the minister of Inverkeilor, one James Rait.
Red Castle stands on high ground overlooking Lunan Bay, on the North Sea coast. Immediately to the north of Red Castle is the mouth of the Lunan Water, with the hamlet of Lunan beyond. Only a part of the fifteenth century rectangular tower, and the 2-metre thick east curtain wall remain. The tower in particular is in precipitous condition, being perched on the edge of the hill above Lunan Bay, and was described as being 'in imminent danger of collapse' in 1999. The castle is clearly visible from the A92 road and the Edinburgh to Aberdeen line. The remains are those of the 15th-century keep, and the surrounding wall, or enceinte, which may date from the 13th century. A midden below the castle is continually eroding, yielding a number of artefacts now in the Montrose Museum.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.