Vallø traces its history back to the 14th century. From 1554 to 1651 it was divided into two separate estates, West Vallø and East Vallø. In 1708 Vallø was acquired by King Frederick IV who passed it on to Anne Sophie Reventlow. In 1731 King Christian VI passed the property on to Queen Sophia Magdalene who in 1737 founded the Noble Vallø Foundation for unmarried daughters.
Vallø consists of four wings with robust towers and is surrounded by a moat. The south wing, with its robust corner towers, and the south end of the west wing were built from 1580 to 1586 by Mette Rosenkrantz, one of the richest women in Denmark of her day. In Christen Skeel's time of ownership, from 1638 to 1659, the castle was expanded to three storeys and the west wing extended. The north wing was built by Johan Cornelius Krieger in 1721. A three-winged building designed by Lauritz de Thurah was built in the courtyard from 1735 to 1738. The surviving central wing expanded with an extra storey by Georg David Anthon in 1765. The castle was devastated by fire in 1893 but restored largely to its old design by Hans Jørgen Holm between 1893 and 1904.
The park was turned into a Romantic landscape garden in 1830 but retains elements from the former French gardens from the 1720s. I large flower park was founded in 1960 but it has later been disbanded. Next to castle and its park there is a cluster of historic houses arranged around a street known as Vallø Castle Street (Vallø Slotsgade). Vallø Castle Inn received a royal privilege in 1784. The estate also owns a variety of other houses spread out across the surrounding countryside.
The estate is still owned by the Vallø Foundation (da. Vallø Stift) and covers 4,109 hectares of land of which 1,860 hectares are woodlands. Apart from agriculture and forestry, the revenues derive from house rental, the inn, a campground located close to Køge, and hiring-out of hunting areas. The castle still provides housing for women of the Danish nobility but since 1976 admission to the residences is not restricted to unmarried women but now also cover widows and divorced women.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.