Sanem Castle has a history dating back to the 13th century. Today's building was completed in 1557 after the medieval castle had been partly destroyed. The castle still maintains much of its original character.
There are historic references mentioning a castle in Sanem during the 13th century when it was closely related to the nearby Soleuvre Castle. Originally a typical medieval fortified castle complete with a moat and keep, it was seriously damaged by the French in the 1550s. In about 1567, Frédéric de Hagen-Fleckenstein reconstructed the castle, placing the new buildings around a large rectangular courtyard. The old square-shaped tower dating back to the castle's Gothic origins remained as part of the new complex. The castle is built in the Renaissance style inspired by Italian architecture from the last half of the 15th century. In the 17th century, the castle was burnt, rebuilt and occupied by the Polish troops of the imperial army.
In 1753, Arnold-François von Daun, baron de Tornaco, bought the castle and moved in with great ceremony. Victor de Tornaco who became prime minister of Luxembourg in 1860 was one of its most noteworthy occupants. The castle remained in the hands of the barons of Tornaco until 1950 when Auguste sold it to the Commune of Esch-sur-Alzette. For 50 years, it was then use as a home for children, under the name Kannerschlass. In 1965 a pavilion was constructed in the park next to the castle, which included accommodation for the director of the Kannerschlass.
In 1972, as a result of financial difficulties, it was taken over by the State of Luxembourg. In 1999, the Kannerschlass ceased to occupy the castle, and the building was refurbished.
The property is now an orphanage and children's home known as the Kannerschlass or children's castle. It also houses the headquarters of the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l'Europe (CVCE).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.