Heeswijk Castle was originally built in the 11th century. The original motte was erected in 1080. During the subsequent centuries this motte was reduced and in its place a castle was built.
Heeswijk Castle has played a crucial role in the history of the Netherlands. Around the year 1600 Prince Maurits twice failed to take the castle. Eventually, his half-brother Frederick Henry did, however, succeeded in capturing the castle in 1629, which in turn enabled him to lay siege to 's-Hertogenbosch. In 1672 the French king Louis XIV stayed at Heeswijk Castle during his campaign against the Dutch Republic. At the end of the 18th century General Pichegru, a French general under the command of Napoleon used the castle as his headquarters.
In 1835, André Baron van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge bought the Heeswijk Castle, which by then had fallen into disrepair, and immediately started reconstruction works on a large scale. The castle was enlarged with an armory. He also had the so-called 'Iron Tower' built in order to house his and his sons, Louis and Donat, growing collection of art objects and curiosa.
The current castle museum attempts to reflect the life and traditions of the middle of the 19th century. Following recent restoration guided tours of the castle are offered. The armory of the castle is used as a wedding location by the municipality Bernheze. Under the promenade cellar roofs (wedding) receptions can be held and the carriage house of the castle accommodates training facilities as well as congress and presentation rooms.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.