The Defence Forces Cemetery of Tallinn (Tallinna Kaitseväe kalmistu) was established in the years of World War I as the cemetery of the Tallinn garrison. The oldest grave dates back to 1916 and holds Russian, Estonian, and German soldiers killed during World War I.
The graves from 1918–1944, the gravestones of the Estonian soldiers and the monuments of the Estonian War of Independence were largely destroyed by the Soviet authorities and the graveyard was taken over by the Red Army for use by the Soviet occupation forces after World War II.
The graves of fifteen British servicemen killed in the Estonian War of Independence between 1918–1920 were repaired in 1994. Queen Elizabeth II awarded Linda Soomre honorary Membership of the Order of the British Empire for dedication and bravery in protecting the British graves during the years of the Soviet rule. Soomre was in charge of the Tallinn City Centre Cemetery for 35 years. After the destruction of the gravestones she had made the ground overnight a maintenance area saving the remains of the British soldiers from being violated. Linda Soomre also saved the graves of two Estonian generals, Johan Unt and Ernst Põdder, by keeping the burial sites covered with dirt. The monument for the generals, originally opened in 1933, was restored in 1998.
The graves of the Estonian Soldiers and the demolished structure of the Estonian War of Independence monument in the graveyard are not restored. The registration book of people buried at this cemetery between years 1918–1944, with over 1,150 names, is maintained in Tallinn city central archives.
The only graves from 1918–1944 that survived the Soviet era in the graveyard was a dolomite statue in commemoration of the victims of Männiku explosion from 15 June 1936.
A notable monument, 'To those fallen in World War II', is the Bronze Soldier, a two meter statue of a soldier in Red Army uniform with an accompanying stone structure. The statue was a part of a former Soviet World War II memorial by the sculptor Enn Roos and supervising architect Arnold Alas, and was moved from central Tallinn to the cemetery on 30 April 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.