While there is evidence of prehistoric or Pictish earthworks in the grounds of the Auchindoun Castle, the remains most visible today are of the castle constructed in the mid-15th century. This building is sometimes said to be the work of Robert Cochrane, a favourite of James III. It passed to the Clan Ogilvy in 1489 and from them to the Clan Gordon in 1535.
The castle was damaged by the Clan MacKintosh in 1592 in retaliation for the Earl of Huntly's killing of the Bonny Earl O'Moray, their ally. In March 1593 Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun was forfeited as a rebel, and Auchindoun Castle was given to Sir George Home, whose wife Elizabeth Gordon was Patrick Gordon's stepdaughter.
After the battle of Glenlivet in October 1594 the wounded followers of the Earl of Huntly came to Auchindoun for safety. James VI ordered that Auchindoun, Slains Castle, Huntly Castle, and the Gordon castles of Abergeldy and Newton should be slighted or demolished.
In 1689, during the first Jacobite rising, the castle was used as a temporary headquarters (on 6–7 June 1689) by John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee and his Jacobite army. However, the castle was derelict by 1725. Stones taken from the castle were used in local farm buildings and nearby Balvenie Castle.
While standing, the castle had a large central tower and high curtain wall. Supporting buildings including a stable, brewery and bakery stood inside the wall. A second round tower guarded the northwest corner of the compound. Cellars and possibly dungeons were dug directly into the bedrock beneath the tower. Today much of the curtain wall and some of the outbuildings remain, but the central tower itself is very dilapidated.
An extension is known to have been added in the 16th century by the Gordons before the Ogilvys reclaimed it in 1594. Stones taken from the castle have been used in local farm buildings and nearby Balvenie Castle.
On the completion of consolidation works, Auchindoun was re-opened for public viewing in November 2007.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.