The Golden Gate of Vladimir, constructed between 1158 and 1164, is the only preserved ancient Russian city gate. A museum inside focuses on the history of the Mongol invasion of Russia in the 13th century.
The Golden Gates existed in the holiest cities of Eastern Orthodoxy: Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Kiev. On making Vladimir his capital, Andrew the Pious aspired to emulate these structures, commissioning a lofty tower over the city's main gate to be erected in limestone and lined with golden plaques. According to ancient Russian chronicles, the masons were invited from Friedrich Barbarossa. The main arch used to stand 15 meters tall. The structure was topped with a barbican church dedicated to the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe and symbolizing the Theotokos's protection of Andrew's capital.
The gate survived the Mongol destruction of Vladimir in 1237. By the late 18th century, however, the structure had so deteriorated that Catherine the Great was afraid to pass through the arch for fear of its tumbling down. In 1779, she ordered detailed measurements and drawings of the monument to be executed. In 1795, after many discussions, the vaults and barbican church were demolished. Two flanking round towers were constructed in order to reinforce the structure, and artisans then reconstructed the barbican, following the drawings made in 1779.References:
The Château de Peyrelade name is derived from the occitan 'Pèira Lada', meaning wide rock; an accurate description of the site. Objects found on the site suggest it was inhabited in prehistoric times.
Thanks to its position controlling the entrance to the Gorges du Tarn, it was one of the most important castles in the Rouergue province. It existed at least as far back as the 12th century, and was the scene of incessant battles and sieges until 1633 when it was dismantled on the orders of Richelieu.
The ruins give a good idea of the layout of the castle. The outer wall was more than 250m long, 10m high and 2.1m thick. The castle was dominated by a natural rock keep more than 50m high, only accessible from a round tower attached to it.
The Château de Peyrelade is one of a group of 23 castles in Aveyron which have joined together to provide a tourist itinerary as La Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue. Château de Peyrelade is open to visitors from mid-June to mid-September.