There was a small fort in Bettembourg as far back as the 10th century. A tower was added later but was removed when further extensions were made in the 17th century. A second castle was built around 1733 by Lothaire de Zievel and his wife Appolinaire-Agnès-Elisabeth de Haagen Motten. The neighbouring stream known as the Düdelingerbach was probably one of the reasons they chose the site. The rather austere architectural style was typical of the period, especially as the building was designed in the interests of farming.
The oldest part of the castle is the south wing which housed stables and barns. The north wing, now the main part of the U-shaped complex, was added later. In about 1759, Jean-Henri de Zievel charged the architect Rousselet de Boulay with major restoration work. In 1765, on the death of the last member of the De Zievel family, the castle fell into the hands of the castle manager, Marc-Antoine de Verniolles. Various proprietors followed including members of the Hohenzollern-Hechingen-Haigerloch family (1780), Charles Joseph Collart de Donnea, owner of the Dommeldange iron works (1807), followed by various members of the Collart family until 1971. When his wife, Daisy Collart-Weber, died in 1969, August Collart decided to sell the property. The commune of Bettembourg bought the property in 1971 and, after undertaking extensive restoration and reconstruction work, opened the building as the Bettembourg town hall in 1991.
The castle now serves as the commune's administrative building and as the town hall of Bettembourg. One of the important transformations has been the creation of a large cultural room or art gallery. The castle's ornamental wooden panelling and its many fireplaces are of particular interest. The large park surrounding the castle is also open to the public.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.