Nyköping Castle is a medieval castle from the Birger Jarl era, partly in ruins. The castle is mostly known for the ghastly Nyköping Banquet which took place here in 1317. The construction of the castle began in the end of the 12th century, when it began as a fortification. It is thought Birger Jarl expanded the building to a larger castle. During the reign of Albert of Sweden the castle was held as a fief by the German knight Raven van Barnekow, who made important improvements on the building, and later by Bo Jonsson Grip. Further reconstructions and expansions were done during the late Middle Ages. Gustav Vasa strengthened the castle further for defensive purposes and a round gun tower from that time remains today.
The medieval castle was rebuilt in the end of the 16th century by Duke Charles (later Charles IX of Sweden) into a renaissance palace. The palace burned down with the rest of the city in 1665. It wasn't reerected; in fact some of its bricks were used in the construction of Stockholm Palace. However, parts of the castle were sound enough to be used as county residence until the 1760s.
Parts of the castle were refurbished in the 20th century. Kungstornet (the King's Tower) and Gamla residenset (the Old Residence) currently house the permanent exhibits of Sörmlands museum (the Museum of Södermanland). A restaurant is located in the banquet hall and Drottningkällaren (the Queen's Cellar).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.