Château de Regnéville is a ruined castle, intended to protect the important dry harbour of Regnéville-sur-Mer. The fortress was founded in the 12th century and the major remains date from the 14th century. It was then composed of an upper courtyard in the east, whose foundations were partially revealed at the time of the excavations carried out in 1991 to 1993. The large tower, of which there remain only two of the four sides, was located at the north-east of this upper courtyard. In the west, facing the harbour, the lower courtyard was originally the royal residence of Charles the Bad.
In 1336, the fiefdom of Regnéville passed into the hands of the Navarre. In 1349, Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, inherited the Norman possessions of his father, the count of Evreux. In 1364, Charles V ascended the French throne. The supproters of Charles the Bad, allied with the English, held Normandy, relying on numerous castles. Regnéville received important work to reinforce its fortifications. At the beginning of May 1378, the fortress of Regnéville was taken by French troops. After the death of Charles V in 1380, his son Charles VI returned his lands to Charles the Bad. Eveentually, Regnéville left the Navarrese inheritance to finally join the kingdom of France.
In March 1418, the Duke of Gloucester seized the castle. In 1435, the captain of the castle was Hue Spencer. He was the bailiff of Cotentin for the king of England, combining high administrative office and military command. Until 1448, he made Regnéville his residence. On 19 September 1449, the fortress was retaken from the English by the constable of Richemont.
In 1603, the fiefdom of Regnéville was sold to Isaac de Piennes, lord of Bricqueville. In 1626, King Louis XIII ordered the demolition of the fortifications of cities and castles which were not at the borders of France or considered to be important to the kingdom. The castle was rased in 1637. The keep, filled with powder, burst and split from top to bottom, along the spiral staircase. The lords of Piennes lived in the place until the 18th century. In the middle of the 19th century, Victor Bunel installed a mechanical sawmill for cutting marble in the former lower courtyard. The castle was acquired by the Conseil Général de la Manche (département council) in 1989. It was classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture in 1991. The restoration of the castle, undertaken in 1994, seeks to restore the appearance at the time of Roulland de Gourfaleur, at the end of the 16th century.
In the north-eastern corner of the upper courtyard of the castle is a rectangular tower some 20 metres (~65 ft) in height, the thickness of the walls exceeding three metres. Four storeys, including three arched, were served by a spiral staircase, rebuilt in the 16th century and still visible nowadays. At the ground floor, a cellar was used to store supplies. In the 16th century, Roulland de Gourfaleur made bays in the western and southern sides of the keep. These openings led to a balcony supported by a pair of large double corbels.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.