Beaufort Castle consists of the ruins of the medieval fortress and an adjacent Renaissance château. It probably originates from the 11th century when a small square-shaped fortress was built on a large rock protected by a moat and a second wall above the valley. A reference from 1192 indicates that Wauthtier de Wiltz et Beaufort was its first lord. During the first half of the 12th century, a keep was added and the gate was moved and enlarged. In 1348, the property came into the hands of the House of Orley after Adelaide of Beaufort married William of Orley. The Lords of Orley made significant extensions overlooking the valley. In 1477, Maximilian of Austria transferred the castle to Johann Bayer von Boppard after Johann von Orley-Beaufort committed a breach in trust. In 1539, Bernard von Velbrück became Lord of Beaufort through marriage and added the large Renaissance wing with cross-framed windows on top of the medieval walls.
The castle then came into the hands of Gaspard de Heu who had married Velbrück's granddaughter. A partisan of the Dutch resistance and the House of Orange, de Heu was captured by the Spaniards, accused of heresy and treason, and publicly executed in Luxembourg's fish market in 1593. Philip II of Spain confiscated the property and entrusted it to Peter Ernst Graf von Mansfeld, the governor of Luxembourg. Through marriage, the castle became the property of Henri de Chalon and then Gaspard du Bost-Moulin who had to sell it after being ruined by the Thirty Years War. Acting on behalf of the Spanish king, Johann Baron von Beck, governor of Luxembourg, bought most of the property in 1639. He initiated the construction of the Renaissance castle in 1643 but after he died of injuries from the Battle of Lens in 1648, the work was completed by his son in 1649.
After various changes in ownership including Pierre de Coumont (1774) and Jean Théodore Baron de Tornaco-Vervoy (1781), the castle was abandoned, fell into disrepair and at the beginning of the 19th century was even used as a quarry. In 1850, it was listed by the State as a national monument. In 1893, the new owner Henri Even restored the new building and, in 1928, Edmond Linkels cleared the rubble away and opened the medieval castle to visitors. In 1981, the property was acquired by the State.
The ruins of the medieval castle are open to visitors in summer season.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.