A striking dominant feature in the greater Nitra vicinity is the ruins of Gýmeš Castle, lying on the steep, quartzite Dúň hill. The first written mention of the village of Gýmeš was in the Zobor Deed of 1113 as part of the property belonging to the Benedictine abbey. King Andrew II presented the village in 1226 to Ivanko, descended from the ancient Hunt–Poznán family. Ivanko’s son Andrew saved the life of Béla IV in a battle at the Slaná River and became his protégé. Andrew as the patriarch of the Forgáč line, had the stone castle built on the site, replacing an old hill fort that had stood there.
The castle did not escape the interest of Maté Csák of Trencsén and decades passed before the royal army won the castle back from him in 1312. The castle remained the property of the crown until King Louis the Great gave the castle to his queen, Mary, in 1356. The Forgáčs had to wait more than seventy years for the castle to be returned to them. They lived to see the castle and related property returned to them after Blažej Forgáč, on the orders of Queen Mary of Hungary, killed her implacable enemy, Charles II of Anjou.
In the 18th century, the Forgáčs built in the village a Baroque church and also a manor house where the family later moved. As the village grew, the castle fell into decay. When it subsequently burned down in 1833, the iron support structure was used to build the local sugar refinery. The Forgáč family lived in Jelenec until 1919.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.