Petrusse Casemates origin goes back to 1644, when the Spaniards reinforced the medieval fortifications. Under the supervision of the Swiss fortress builder Isaac von Treybach, they built - among other defence works-the powerful Beck Bastion, named after Governor Baron Johann von Beck, a native of the city who had played a key role in the Wallenstein affair on the side of the Emperor. Initially this bastion was as high as the adjacent terraces on the right; it was raised to the present level of Constitution Square (the wall is 27 meters high) by Vauban in 1685.
In 1673 the Spaniards erected the so-called 'Ravelin du Pate' to strengthen the defence of the Beck Bastion; this triangular construction is one of the few well-kept fortifications. Marshall de Vauban conferred the present shape to all the Petrusse fortifications and built the 'Small Staircase'. From 1728-29 the Austrians added the 'Bourbon Lock' and the 'Large Staircase' and in 1746 the casemates of the 'Petrusse Battery' (54 gun emplacements).
One century passed and the fortress was enlarged and reinforced: the second ring was extended and the third started, so that Luxembourg became the 'Gibraltar of the North'. By and by, the Petrusse fortifications fell into oblivion and neglect, as their strategic momentum limited itself to the valley. After the dismantling, stipulated by the 1867 London Treaty, they confined themselves to walling up the loopholes and most entrances. In 1933 the Petrusse casemates were opened 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.