Construction of the Royal Castle in Poznań was probably started by Przemysł I in 1249 on hill later called Góra Zamkowa. The first building was a habitable tower made of bricks with a well inside, and the rest of the hill was surrounded by a rampart with a palisade. A small ducal residence was incorporated into the system of city walls in the late 13th century.
The son of Przemysł I, Przemysł II, hoping for reunification of Poland under his rule decided to build a larger castle, more proper for a king. In 1295 Przemysł became king of Poland, but he was assassinated a year later. The castle wasn"t finished. Work started by Przemysł was continued by a branch of the Piasts from Głogów ruling in Greater Poland, and finished before 1337. The castle served as the residence of prince Casimir, then-governor of Greater Poland.
In 1337, the Royal Castle in Poznań was the largest castle in the Polish Kingdom, modelled after the palatium of Henry I the Bearded in Legnica. The castle consisted of a tower built by Przemysł I and a huge building (63,0 m x 17,5 m) with three levels and a basement. It is uncertain whether the castle"s characteristic roof, consisting of four parts, existed at that time.
Basements served as prisons and for storage of wines, and on the ground floor there were charring rooms. Those two condignations were covered by vaults. Two higher floors probably had wooden ceilings. On the edges of first floor were representative chambers, and between them were habitual rooms. The whole second floor was occupied by achamber for 2000 guests. On the south end of the large building was a defense tower. Since the reign of Władysław I the Elbow-high the castle served as the residence of starosta generalny of Greater Poland. Later only one king, Władysław II Jagiełło, ordered some minor work in castle.
During the fire of Poznań in 1536 the castle also burned. It was rebuilt in the renaissance style by the governor of Greater Poland, Andrzej II Górka. In the next years the oldest part of castle was transformed into a kitchen. The castle was later destroyed during the Swedish invasion, sacked in 1704 by the armies of Russia and Saxony during Great Northern War, and in 1716 during Confederation of Tarnogród by the confederates. The castle was partially renovated in 1721, but it didn"t stop the devastation. The last starosta generalny, Kazimierz Raczyński, rebuilt the remains of the medieval buildings into an archive (finished in 1783). In 1804, after The Second partition of Poland, Prussians demolished the southern part of the castle, replacing it by buildings which, together with Raczyński"s archive served as the office of the local Regierungsbezirk. Later on the castle was also as a seat of the Court of Appeals and the State Archive (the castle served as an archive until 1939). During the battle for the Poznań Citadelle, in February 1945, Przemysł Hill was in line of artillery fire, and the remaining part of the castle was demolished.
In the years 1959–1964 Raczyński"s archive and part of Prussian building were rebuilt, and on base of the oldest tower stands a small pavilion called the Royal Kitchen (Kuchnia Królewska). Today the Castle holds a Museum of Utilitary Art.
In 2002, a committee for rebuilding of the castle was founded. Still extant from previous construction are two-meter-wide supports from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the inner walls of the basement and the western wall from the same period, and a slightly newer eastern wall, now integrated into Raczyński"s Building. On the surviving part of the castle are three plaques: the foundation plaque of Kazimierz Raczyński from 1783, one from 1993 marking the five-hundredth anniversary of homage of Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Johann von Tiefen, and another plaque commemorating the seven-hundredth anniversary of the coronation of Przemysł II.
On 20 December 2010, work began on the total reconstruction of the demolished parts of the castle, and meticulous restoration of the surviving buildings.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.