Are Castle was built around 1100 by Count Dietrich I of Are and is first recorded in 1121. In 1246 Count Frederick of Hochstaden, provost of Xanten, with the assent of his brother Conrad of Are-Hochstaden gifted the county and its castles - Are, Hardt and Hochstaden – to the Archbishopric of Cologne. Its expansion with a surrounding enceinte was carried out during the period of Electoral Cologne in the 14th and 15th centuries in order to protect the Electorate’s estates in the Ahr region. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were only minor changes to the castle in the form of repairs and replacement buildings. Periodically the castle was also used as a gaol in which the archbishops of Cologne incarcerated their enemies. For a long time Are Castle was a spiritual and cultural centre for the whole area.
Increasingly often, the archbishops of Cologne enfeoffed Are Castle with the district (Amt) of Altenahr. The liegemen were installed as Amtmännern and most of the also lived at the castle.Over a long time the castle fell into a poor state of repair because the vassals did not carry out the necessary work. One exception was the period of Henry of the Horst, who died in 1625.
In 1690 the castle was captured by French troops after a nine month siege. The castle was badly damaged by shelling. In 1697 the French withdrew, but occupied the castle again during the War of the Spanish Succession that began in 1701. In 1706 the castle was taken over by Electoral Cologne forces and the area became unsafe. For this reason Prince Elector Joseph Clemens of Bavaria had the walls blown up in 1714 with the agreement of the villagers. Since then the castle has been a ruin. Reusable materials such as wood and stone were used as construction materials for the rebuilding of the district house (Amtshaus) at the foot of the castle hill.
Since 1965 the Are Gymnasium – a local grammar school – in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler has borne the name which is derived from the castle and its eponymous noble family.
The plan of the castle is rectangular. As well as parts of the outer ward and a gate – the so-called Gymnicher Porz – remains of the defensive wall have survived. In addition, on the southern side of the site, is an old gate tower, as well as the ruins of the palas, which once had a heated bishop’s chamber. The first bergfried probably stood on the pointed dome of rock in its northern corner. North of that are extensive remains of the Romanesque castle chapel dating to the 12th century.
Below Are Castle lie the remains of the Gymnicher Porz, Porz standing for Pforte or 'portal'. This was the lower gateway on the access road to the castle which, in combination with a wall, barred the way to the castle hill. The structure comprised a gatehouse over the access road, an attached castle house (Burghaus), with a basement and two floors housing living accommodation, and an attached tower.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.