Korela Fortress, at the town of Priozersk, was founded by the Karelians who named the place Käkisalmi. It was first mentioned in a Novgorodian chronicle of 1143 as Korela. Indeed, archeological digs have revealed a layer belonging to the 12th century. Swedish chronicles first reported of the settlement of Keksholm in 1294. Until the 16th century, the fortress belonged to the Novgorod Republic, followed by Muscovy. Novgorodians built the current stone bastions and towers in 1364 after a fire had destroyed the original wooden fortress in 1360.
During a Swedish-Novgorodian war in 1314, a small Karelian force conquered the fortress from the representatives of Novgorod. They invited Swedes to keep it against Novgorod. However, the Novgorodians managed to reconquer the fortress. The fortress was confirmed as belonging to Novgorod in the treaty of Nöteborg of 1323.
In the 1330s, the Novgorod Republic gave the castle of Korela (and practically the entire Votian fifth, including the forts of Oreshek and Ladoga) to duke Narimantas of Lithuania. In 1383 Korela, Oreshek and Koporye were inherited by Narimantas' son and heir, Patrikas, the forefather of the Galitzine princely clan. Next year the local burghers lodged a complaint about his administration. Patrikas was forced to exchange Korela for Ladoga and Russa. Patrikas occupied his lands in Ingria and Karelia at least from 1383 to 1397. In the year 1408, it is recorded that he settled in Moscow under the protection of Vasili I, together with his younger sons, Georgi and Fyodor, who had grown up in Ingria.
Soon after their seizure of Korela in 1580, the Swedes rebuilt the fortress following a Western European pattern of bastion fortifications. In the Treaty of Teusina of 1595 Sweden however undertook to return Korela to Russia. This was effectuated in 1597. During the subsequent Ingrian War starting 1610, Gustavus Adolphus reinforced Swedish control of the castle and the whole area. During the Time of Troubles, Korela was a prize promised by Vasily IV of Russia to Jacob De la Gardie as part of the Swedish De la Gardie Campaign to assist Russia against the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. They were incorporated with Sweden as Kexholms län in the peace of Stolbova in 1617. The fortress and the region remained with Sweden until Peter the Great captured the fortress during the Great Northern War.
In the mid-18th century, the fortress was turned into a political prison of Imperial Russia. Some participants of the Decembrist Revolt (1825) were confined there.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.