The Château de Rustéphan is a small, ruined 15th-16th century manor-house erected by Jean Du Faou, chamberlain of France and grand seneschal of Brittany, who built the domaine in 1420. According to tradition, the original manor was built by the son of a Duke of Brittany, named Étienne, Count of Penthièvre and seigneur of Nizon, who died in 1137.The current structure was built by Jean du Faou. According to some historians, it was a former hunting lodge of the Dukes of Brittany, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its position, at the entrance of large woods that covers the entire parish of Nizon, and which abounds in game, can make this opinion very plausible. During the French Revolution, more than half of the manor-house was burned and destroyed.
Of the ancient manor-house nothing remains but two sections about twenty metres in height, surrounded by ivy, brambles and weeds. The section on the left, the gable wall, contains a corner turret on corbelling, immense hooded fireplaces as well as the remains of some stone cross-pieced windows. The section on the right contains the staircase tower, as well as some remains of internal walls, the entrance vestibule, etc. The main entry door is topped by a Gothic arch. The former wall of the front façade has fallen away and the stones carried off in the last century.It is believed that the manor-house once consisted of a rectangular corps de logis and had turrets at each of the corners, as well as the large central staircase tower.
Nearly all the residents of Nizon believe that the ghosts of former village residents Géneviève de Rustéphan and Iannick ar Flécher still haunt the château today. This true 16th century story is a tragic tale of a commoner (Iannick) who fell in love with the daughter (Géneviève) of the local seigneur of Faou. Their two families did not approve of the relationship, and Iannick was forced to become a priest and leave town. The young woman died broken-hearted and her spirit is said to haunt the ruins to this day. It has been reported that the apparition of an old, sad priest (Iannick) has also been seen lurking around the ruins. Village inhabitants used to gather in the grassy space in front the ruins of the château to dance and celebrate various holidays, however after numerous reported sightings of unexplained figures seen watching them from within the ruins, they learned to stay away from the place on moonlit nights when the spirits were said to appear.
The local people of Nizon are trying to save the remains of the château from further vandalism and effects of the weather. There is an effort underway to reinforce the walls and tower and try to keep the structure from falling down.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.