The Tour Tanguy is a medieval tower on a rocky motte beside the Penfeld river in Brest. Probably built during the Breton War of Succession, it faces the château de Brest and is now accessed by a road off the square Pierre Péron, at one end of the pont de Recouvrance. It now houses the Museum of Old Brest, a museum with a collection of dioramas that depict the city of Brest on the eve of World War II.
Probably built to protect or block crossings between the two banks of the river, the tower's origins cannot be precisely determined. It may have been built by the English during their occupation of the city in the 14th century, or earlier by lord Tanguy du Chastel, of the line of lords of Quilbignon which distinguished itself in battles against the English in Brittany and contributed to the development of the right bank. The name bastille de Quilbignon gives places to that of tour Tanguy, a forename held by members of this line. Their arms are engraved below the tower's gate. The family's powerbase was at the château de Trémazan at Landunvez.
Jean de Montfort handed it over to the English in 1341, but it was restored to his son John V, Duke of Brittany in 1397. Until about 1580, the tower was the seat of justice for the lords of Le Châtel, and it was neglected after that date, becoming the property of the Rohan-Guéméné family in 1786 before becoming a French royal possession and finally being sold to a Mr Gabon on the French Revolution.
In 1862, it was bought by the architect Barillé who turned it into his house, cutting windows and building on its top a sort of Chinese-style roof over a kiosk or pavilion. Its last occupant and private owner, doctor Joseph Thielmans, left it after it caught fire during the bombardment of 1944 (the bombing also destroyed the pavilion). It was acquired by the town of Brest on 15 July 1954 and summarily repaired, but its state worsened once more and its future was compromised by the redevelopment of the Recouvrance quarter. In 1959 the town finally charged the painter Jim_Sévellec with evoking the town's past, of which few remains were left. The tower was restored and opened as the Museum of Old Brest on 25 July 1962. In 1971, a turret was added and the Neo Gothic cornice along the battlements replaced to restore the tower to its medieval shape.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.