Forum Hadriani was the northern-most Roman city on the European continent and the second oldest city of The Netherlands. It was located in the Roman province Germania Inferior and is mentioned on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a Roman road map.
The site Forum Hadriani formed the nucleus of the civitas of the Cananefates, who lived west of the Batavians. It was situated along the Fossa Corbulonis or Corbulo-canal. This waterway was established about 47 CE by the Roman general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, forming an important shortcut between the rivers Rhine and Meuse. After the Batavian Rebellion, in which they participated, the Cananefates became loyal allies of the Romans.
In 121 emperor Hadrian made a long voyage along the northwestern border of the empire, during which he visited the Cananefate town. He gave the town his own name, Forum Hadriani (Hadrian’s Market). An alternate name, maybe the only official name, was Municipium Aelium Cananefatium (Aelius being the family name of Hadrian). The shortened version of this name, MAC, has been found engraved in a couple of Roman milestones found in the neighbourhood.
About 270 CE, after several plagues and attacks by Saxon pirates, the Romans abandoned Forum Hadriani.
In 1771 a bronze right hand was excavated during garden work on the estate Arentsburg. This hand was used by Étienne Maurice Falconet as model for the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, The Bronze Horseman. The first scientific excavations at the site of Forum Hadriani were carried out by Caspar Reuvens, between 1827-1833. Reuvens held the first professorship Archaeology ever, worldwide. Reuvens died before he could publish his findings. More excavations were done between 1908 and 1915 by Jan Hendrik Holwerda, he published the results of Reuvens together with his own discoveries in a comprehensive monograph in 1923.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.