The ruins of Werdenfels Castle stand about 80 metres above the Loisach valley between Garmisch and Farchant. The castle ruins are freely accessible and are a popular hiking destination with a good view of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Wetterstein Mountains.
The castle was probably built between 1180 and 1230. Its owner and the purpose of the original fortification are also unknown. In 1249, ownership of the fortress was transferred to the Prince-Bishopric of Freising. In 1294 Count Berthold III of Eschenlohe gave the Bishopric part of his county and was appointed as the castle guardian. After the creation of Freising territory, the County of Werdenfels, the castle served as the administrative and jurdical centre.
In the 15th century, Freising had to enfeoff the castle several times due to financial difficulties. The structural condition of the castle seems to have deteriorated to the beginning of the 17th century such that the governor's seat was moved in 1632 into a new administrative building on the Wang. From 1676 the fortress was exploited as a quarry. For example, numerous stone blocks from castle were re-used for the new baroque parish churches of Farchant and Garmisch.
As part of the seizure of church land in the Napoleonic era, the castle and county went to the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1822 the Bavarian privy council, Ignaz von Rudhart, acquired the ruins, since when it has been privately owned.
In 1905-06, the walls were secured and partially rebuilt. After the tops of the walls were secured in 1961/63, further restoration finally began in 1986; this has continued sporadically since.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.