Güssenburg Castle was built around 1346 to the site of earlier castle. It was the ancestral seat of the House of Güssenberg. The family was quite large and eventually ruled over many castles and communities in the region.
The count's vogt or bailiff was located at the Güssenburg until 1448. The central location of the castle made it an ideal location to administer the grafschaft or fief of the Count. In 1448 the fief fell to the House of Württemberg. However, the castle was destroyed in 1449 during the Städtekreig by troops from Ulm, Giengen and Lauingen, and never rebuilt.
In 1709 the community of Hermaringen inherited the ruins and the associated farms below the hill. In 1970/71 the ruins were repaired and cleaned. A further renovation occurred from 1981 until 1998 through the local Castle Society.
The keep and curtain wall form an irregular rectangle of about 45m x 70m. On the south side, a wide dry moat separates the castle area from the flat hill top. Near the moat a massive curtain wall rises up, the Ashlar wall is up to 3.4m thick. A post, found in the wall, has been dendrochronology dated to 1350. About 25m behind the curtain wall, currently nearly flat, runs the old inner ditch. Behind the inner ditch, portions of the inner castle still remain. These include debris, barriers and the ruins of the keep.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.