Minsk City Hall is a symbol of the city government. It appeared in the city in connection with the acquisition of Magdeburg Law in Minsk including the 15 largest cities in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first mention of a stone building of the Minsk City Hall belongs to 1583. Later it was rebuilt many times and changed its appearance. In the XIX century it was the court, the police guardhouse, archive, and City Theatre. In 1857 Hall was destroyed by order of Emperor Nicholas I.
On the reconstruction of the Minsk City Hall first began in 1980. For a long time various archaeological research were carried out, d many historical documents, graphic and pictorial images were analyzed. Approximately 15 years were needed for experts to prepare a draft restoration work. The project was very complex in execution, but all the same Town Hall was restored to its historic location. Its appearance is the same as at the beginning of the XIX century. Even the thickness of the walls, as before, is half-meter. Reconstructed and adjacent to Town Hall Square, now looks almost like it was 100 years ago. The restored Minsk city hall was inaugurated on November 4, 2004.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.