Roskilde Mansion replaced a bishop's palace which had stood at the site since the Middle Ages. Commissioned by King Christian VI, the new building was constructed to provide a residence for the royal family when they passed through the city or attended royal funerals and other ceremonies in Roskilde Cathedral. Lauritz de Thurah who had recently been engaged as royal master builder, was charged with its design in 1733 and the palace was completed in 1736.
During the English siege of Copenhagen in 1807, the mansion served as headquarters of general Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. Later in the century, it provided a venue for the so-called Assembly of the Estates, a key event leading up to the adoption of the Danish constitution in 1849.
Built in the Baroque style, in yellow-washed masonry and with red tile roofs, the four-winged complex consists of a two-storey main wing, two one-storey lateral wings and a curved gate wing opening to the Stændertorvet. The four wings are connected by curving galleries. Facing the courtyard, the facade of the main wing has pilasters and a median risalit tipped by a triangular pediment decorated with the royal coat of arms. Dating from the 13th century, the Gate of Absalon which connects the mansion to the apsis of Roskilde Cathedral, is the only surviving part of the former bishop's palace.
Since 1924, one of the wings has been home to the office and official residence of the Bishop of Roskilde. The rest of the complex houses Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1991, as well as Roskilde Art Association and the Palace Collections. The mansion's gardens and courtyard are also used for exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.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.