The castle in Levice was built in the 13th century, when the near Tekovsky castle’s importance had declined due the devastation of Tartars. It was built on andesite rock, the remnants of Neogenic volcanic activity, which extended to the Štiavnica hills. The west side of the castle was bounded by the marshy meadow of the river Hron, with its several river branches. The castle itself had been a fortress for protection of the mining towns. Under the protection of the castle in the 14th century a settlement known as 'Big' or 'Old Levice' had been established, which is the real predecessor of today’s Levice town.
The 150 year long Turkish occupation, which started in the 16th century, weakened the town economically and made it more dependent on the castle’s estate. At this time the Levice castle, then already a royal castle, was listed among the 15 most important defence forts. In the middle of the 17th century the Turkish incursions grew stronger. Seeing the enemy’s huge numerical advantage, the captain gave up Levice without resistance. The Turks' rule in Levice lasted for only 224 days, when in 1664 by an unexpected action they were expelled out of the town. After the end of the Turkish wars Levice lost its important role as a frontier-castle and in 1699 in accordance with official orders it was abolished as a fort.
Frequent fires meant great disasters for Levice. In 1696 fire destroyed almost the whole town. In 1715 there were 195 taxpayers and 43 craftsmen in the town. In the time of Rákoczy’s Revolt in the 18th century the castle was in a very bad condition. In order to prevent from being used for military purposes the rebels decided to destroy it before leaving. The castle was never re-established and thus it lost its military importance.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.