Falkland Palace is a royal palace of the Scottish Kings. Before Falkland Palace was built a hunting lodge existed on the site in the 12th century. This lodge was expanded in the 13th century and became a castle which was owned by the Earls of Fife, the famous Clan MacDuff.
Between 1501 and 1541 Kings James IV and James V transformed the old castle into a beautiful renaissance royal palace. Falkland was included in the 'morning gift' that James VI gave to his bride Anne of Denmark.
For five hours in the morning of 28 June 1592 Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell and his men attempted to capture the palace and James VI and Anne of Denmark. They attempted to batter down the back gate but were repulsed by gunshots. The king withdrew to the gatehouse tower and his guard shot at Bothwell's men. Bothwell abandoned the attack at 7 o'clock in the morning, and rode away with the king's horses.
After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the architect James Murray repaired the palace for the visit of King James in 1617. In 1887 John, 3rd Marquis of Bute purchased the estates of Falkland and started a 20-year restoration of the palace. At the time the Palace was a ruin with no windows or doors. Thanks to his restoration work and considerable budget the Palace remains standing today.
Today there is much to explore as you walk through the palace, taking in the detailed panelling in the drawing room, the stunning Chapel Royal (where mass is still said every Sunday morning) and the fascinating painted walls of the library, as well as the re-created royal apartments.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.