In the 12th century, a fortress was located at Breda. The city of Breda came into existence near the fortress. In 1350, the Duke of Brabant sold Breda to Jan II of Polanen (Baron of Breda). He reinforced the castle with four towers and a channel. His daughter Johanna of Polanen married in 1403 the German Duke Engelbert I of Nassau. Their son Jan IV of Nassau enlarged the castle.
Henry III of Nassau-Breda changed the castle into a Renaissance palace in 1536. He died in 1538 and his son René of Châlon finished the castle and built a chapel in 1540. René of Châlon died without any children and the castle became property of his German cousin, William I of Orange, during his battle with the Spanish, it had a military function again (Dutch revolt).
In 1667 the Treaty of Breda was signed by England, France and the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. This ended the second English-Dutch war. Stadtholder - King William III of England rebuilt the castle between 1686 and 1695. But he and his successors did not stay much at the castle.
In the France time (18th century), the castle was a military barracks and military hospital. Between 1746 and 1748 it was the site of the Breda Peace Talks between Britain and France during the War of the Austrian Succession. The talks formed the foundation for the eventual peace settlement at Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
William I of the Netherlands placed at disposal of the Royal Military Academy in 1826. In this time, Thomas Vincidor built three wings and later William II built the fourth wing. The entrance gate is from the 16th century. Today Breda castle is used by Koninklijke Militaire Academie, the service academy for the Dutch Army and the Dutch Air Force.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.