Huxter Fort is an iron age fortification on the island of Whalsay. It is on an islet in the Loch of Huxter, connected to the shore by a causeway. The fort was probably built around 300 BC, the generally accepted date of most similar fortifications in the region. This ring fort and blockhouse existed before the other two forts in Whalsay, brochs that were built just before the Christian era started. Huxter was standing until the 19th century. When described in 1879, the fort was much less dilapidated than today.
Entry to the fort enclosure was across the causeway, then through a passageway with rooms on either side and with a doorway in the center. The entrance section is part of the main wall. This is similar to the blockhouse at Clickhimin. The passage is just 0.76 m wide at its opening, and 1.1 m at its inner end. It has been conjectured that there may have been a two-story timber building built against the inner face of the fort. There is little structural evidence for this today. However, early accounts of the fort indicate that this may have been the case, and other forts show traces of what may have been internal stairways.
A ring wall runs around the islet, with a two-room blockhouse forming the defense opposite the causeway. The ring wall seems to have been built separately from the main structure. The blockhouse forms part of the ringwork, but is not bonded into the ring wall. The weaknesses in the defense of this and related structures could be explained by additional defenses of wood and thorn branches that have disappeared without leaving any trace. Another possibility is that the defenses were mainly symbolic, and perhaps played a part in warfare that was conducted according to formal rituals.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.