Grafendahn Castle belongs to the group of castles at Dahn, which also includes Altdahn and Tanstein. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a rocky ridge, they were not built at the same time.
Grafendahn was built in 1287 by Conrad of Mursel, who was a Lehnsmann or vassal of the bishops of Speyer and a nephew of Frederick of Dahn. The castle was conceived from the outset as a so-called Ganerbenburg - a castle in which several families or family lines lived and worked at the same time. As early as 1288, there were five other heirs, besides Conrad Mursel, who included the counts of Sponheim. In 1339, Count John II of Sponheim purchased all parts of the site from the various parties concerned and thus became the sole owner.
In 1425, the castle defences were strengthened and, in 1437, when the House of Sponheim became extinct on the death of John V, it was transferred by inheritance treaty into the possession of the margraves of Baden. However its defences were not robust enough to withstand a siege by Prince Elector Frederick the Victorious; in 1462 he took the castle and had it slighted. It was clearly not rebuilt in a systematic way. In 1480 Hans von Trotha, who was already the liegeman of Berwartstein Castle, was also given Grafendahn as a fief by the prince elector, and took full ownership in 1485 through purchase. Nevertheless, around 1500, the castle was described as 'uninhabitable'.
Until 1637 the ruined castle belonged to the lords of Fleckenstein. In 1642 it changed hands again and was acquired by the tavern at Waldenburg, where it remained for about 150 years. In 1793 the site went back to the Bishopric of Speyer as Lehnsherr (liege lord), who did not enfeoff it again.
Grafendahn Castle is the smallest of the three Dahn castles and is located on the middle of the five castle rock outcrops. The development of the upper ward is rather unclear today due to its modern parapet walls. In the west of the upper ward are the striking ruins of a shield wall, that was erected facing Tanstein Castle. Parts of it have survived at its original height. It was built of rusticated ashlars. Against the shield wall there was a small palas as well as several domestic buildings.
In the lower ward, which is situated on two narrow rock terraces, several chambers, cattle troughs and a well shaft have survived. The castle museum has been house in a restored stable blockReferences:
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.