Built in 1765 as a tenement house for a grand ducal demesne, Schloss Tiefurt served from 1776 as the residence of Prince Friedrich Ferdinand Constantin, the younger brother of the reigning Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. After the expansion of the tenement house to a country mansion, he and his tutor Karl Ludwig von Knebel designed a landscaped park in English style. Meandering paths were laid together with the first park architecture and seating, and various types of plants were cultivated. After Constantin’s departure to Weimar in 1781, Duchess Anna Amalia moved her summer residence to Tiefurt and continued to develop the park step by step. These developments included the Leopold memorial, the cenotaph for Constantin who died young, the Mozart memorial, the Herder stone, the Temple of Muses and the Tea Salon. During this time, Tiefurt became a social centre for the court of Weimar and their guests. A convivial social life developed featuring recitals, literary evenings and even a small newspaper, the Journal of Tiefurt. However, Tiefurt fell silent when the mansion was plundered by French troops in 1806 and on Anna Amalia’s death in 1807. Tiefurt was restored to its former glory only with the extensive renovation and redesign of the park between 1846 and 1850 carried out by the Weimar court gardener Eduard Petzold. Many of the copses which define the park landscape were planted in this period. Tiefurt Mansion and Park were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
Many of the artworks are mementoes of Anna Amalia’s trip to Italy between 1788 and 1790, including a watercolour by Johann Georg Schütz showing the Duchess and her travelling companions among Roman artists in the garden of the Villa d’Este. Some of the artistic highlights of the institution are sculptures and busts done by the court sculptor Gottlieb Martin Klauer on the staircase and porcelain from China, Meissen, Copenhagen, Fürstenberg and Vienna. Visitors can look into the Cold Kitchen with a wide variety of utensils from the courtyard. The historical display dishes made of porcelain, wax and paper maché come from the ducal household and look deceptively realistic.
Tiefurt Park covers an area of 21 hectares on both sides of the Ilm. Gently sloping fields with beautiful groups of trees stretch to the bank of the river. A steep slope covered with dense forest rises on the far side. Numerous memorials and park constructions invite visitors to linger.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.