MacDuff's Castle ruins is associated with the MacDuff Earls of Fife, the most powerful family in Fife in the Middle Ages.
It is thought that a castle may have been built here by the MacDuff Mormaers, or Earls, of Fife in the 11th century, at the time of King Macbeth of Scotland (d. 1057). The Wemyss family, descendants of the MacDuffs, owned the property from the 14th century, and built the earliest part of the present castle. Edward I of England paid a visit here in 1304, staying with Sir Michael Wemyss. However, Wemyss later joined forces with Robert the Bruce, and Edward ordered the castle to be destroyed.
After the Wemyss family moved to nearby Wemyss Castle, it passed to the Livingstones, and then in 1530 it was taken over by the Colvilles who built a second tower to the south-west, and enclosed a courtyard with a gatehouse. In 1637 the castle was bought by Sir John Wemyss of West Wemyss, from Lord Colville of Culross, and in 1651 the lands of East and West Wemyss were united as a single barony.
The ruins formerly comprised the remains of a four-storey 14th-century tower, and a five-storey 16th-century tower. The two were connected by 16th-century gatehouse range, with 17th-century walls containing gun loops. However the eastern tower was demolished by Fife County Council in 1967 after a child was injured falling from it. The castle is supposedly haunted by a 'Grey Lady', said to be a Mary Sibbald who was found guilty of theft and died in the castle. The castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. A 16th-century dovecote formerly stood at the edge of the shore to the south of the castle, but was destroyed by sea erosion in the 1970s. The castle remains the property of the Wemyss Estate.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.