Ettersburg Castle lies on the edge of the forest on the northern side of the Grosse Ettersberg. This woodland has been the hunting ground for the Dukes of Weimar since the 17th century. Duke Wilhelm Ernst started building the castle at the beginning of the 18th century; the work was completed by his nephew Ernst August. From 1776 to 1780, the Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach held her summer court in Ettersburg and became the centre of a circle of literary and musical figures. A second golden age of culture began when the castle was taken over by Carl Alexander, Anna Amalia’s great-grandson, in 1842. The young duke had the two castle parterres reconstructed in accordance with designs by Carl Eduard Petzold. Petzold also laid the six-hectare landscaped park at the west of the castle and the great forest house meadow which stretches east of the valley base from the old castle to the forester’s house. In 1845, the castle avenue, one of the intersecting hunting trails, was widened with the suggestion and under the direction of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau to form the so-called Pücklerschlag.
After 1919, Ettersburg Castle became the property of the State of Thuringia. The various users of the castle neglected the parkland over the following years. The Pücklerschlag was divided in 1946 as part of the land reform measures. In 1968, the entire Ettersburg estate passed on to the trusteeship of the National Research and Memorial Sites of Classical German Literature (NFG), which also took over the administration of the castle and park in 1979. Since then, the ongoing maintenance of the castle has been guaranteed. The renovation work includes the reconstruction of the paths through the park, the rejuvenation of the trees and shrubs on the southern slope and the parterres on both sides of the castle.
In 2009, the Bildungswerk BAU Hessen-Thüringen e.V. signed a 55-year lease on the Ettersburg Castle, at which association operates a seminar and conference centre. However, the castle gardens and park grounds remain under the management of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar.
Schloss Ettersburg is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of 'Classical Weimar'.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.