The Château de Courcy was mentioned in 1091, when it was owned by Richard de Courcy and besieged by Robert Curthose. At the start of the 17th century, the castle was demolished by order of Richelieu and, losing all military function, slowly became an agricultural enterprise. In 1975, the remaining parts of the former castle including the gate on the road from Tôtes and the gateway to the second enceinte were protected by being added to the supplementary inventory of historical monuments. In spite of this protection, the condition of the site has continued to deteriorate.
The first castle in Courcy was probably built of earth and wood. The structure of the fortification was conceived as a succession of three enceintes (French term used for the inner ring of fortifications), but only the last remains. Surrounded by moats, the last enceinte was about 10 m high and defended by twelve towers, of which only nine round towers remain, and a square tower which probably served as a keep. Elsewhere in the enceinte are the remains of the Saint Catherine chapel. It was built in the 12th century but greatly remodelled in the 15th-16th centuries.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.