The first record of the castle in Halič dates from the year 1450. In the years 1450-51 it belonged to the Jiskras, later to János Hunyady before becoming inhabited by King Matthias Corvinus in 1462. In the first half of the 16th century it was in property of Istvan Losonczy from Lučenec. The castle was reconstructed, without royal permission, by him and was damaged in 1544 during a siege. After the death of Štefan Lučenský, his daughter Anne inherited the county and married Zsigmund Forgách. The Forgáčs were one of the oldest Hungarian aristocratic family being descendants of the Great Moravian family Poznam, who had preserved their positions in Slovakia after its incorporation into the Kingdom of Hungary. The Halič castle was owned by the Forgáčs until 1945.
Zsigmond Forgách rebuilt the castle on land which had been part of the estate of the owner of the county since 1598, choosing a site that was both strategic and offering natural fortifications. In 1612 it was repaired carefully and the foundations of an irregular hexagon was laid. On top of these; a storied building with six corner bastions was constructed, secured by a ditch and mounds. Wings of this hexagon led into a courtyard with plain walls, later covered with many murals depicting figures of the Roman emperors and the Hungarian kings between its windows and entrances.
At the end of the 17th century Imre Thököly attempted to capture the castle but did not succeed. In 1678, when owned by Adam Forgáč, the castle was besieged again, on this occasion by Turks. The defenders repulsed this attack and also a second attempt in 1703. Six years later Ferenc II Rákóczi overran the castle and in another siege; the leader of the emperor's troops, the General Sigbert Heister, managed to raze parts of the building including the roof and some of the interior equipment.
The Forgáčs had the castle reconstructed in 1762 due to the need of a representative seat in this region. The Austrian Andre Meyerhoffer, was in charge of the works, notable as he was the builder of some of the palaces in Bratislava.
Today Halič castle stays abandoned and waiting the restoration.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.