Nearly 200 m above the Mosel river next to Pommern and Karden lays the high plateau of the Martberg. Its name still reminds you of the celtic-roman god Lenus-Mars who has been worshipped here in ancient times.
In the celtic period, around 100 BC, the Martberg was a central town an oppidum of the local celtic tribe called Treveri. According to current research the plateau of 45 ha was densly settled with small houses made of wood and clay. The settlement was surrounded by a wall constructed out of timber and stones. The evidence of coinage, handicraft and many imported goods emphasize the importance of the settlement in these times.
In the central area of the mountain archaeologists found a sanctuary of several celtic-roman temples which date from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD. The sanctuary was surrounded by a large rectangular collonade which has been 60 to 70 m. In the center stood the main temple built in the typical celtic-roman style. It had a central square building called cella and a surrounding roofed verandah with stone pillars. The cella was the most important part of the temple because there was the god’s statue placed. Next to the central temple four smaller temples were discovered built in the same way as the main temple. In the sanctuary archaeologists found large quantities of offerings. The believers offered more than 10.000 coins, hundreds of fibulas, weapons as well as thousands of miniature ceramic vessels to their gods. In the course of the christianisation the sanctuary was abandoned after 400 AD. The religious center moved from the Martberg to Karden where an early christian community was established.
Since the year of 2006 AD it is possible to visit the celtic-roman sanctuary again. The major temple with its impressive wall paintings and one minor temple are reconstructed completely. Two other temples and the surrounding wall are rebuilt partly. Furthermore you can see some houses built in the way of the celtic period. Many of the objects from the Martberg and 2000 years of the history of Karden can be seen in the Stiftsmuseum of Treis-Karden. The museum is located next to the church of Karden.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.