Berchtesgaden Castle dates from 1102 from the Augustin Collegiate. According to legend, Countess Irmgard von Sulzbach vowed to found the monastery as gratitude for saving her spouse after a serious hunting accident.
Throughout the ages, provosts and canons expanded the complex of buildings. Seen from today, it is a lucky circumstance that never enough money was available for tearing the place down. On the contrary, extensions have always been added in the style of the time. The Romanesque cloister has been built around 1180, followed around 1400 by the two-nave Gothic hall. Around 1500 two Renaissance halls were built on the southern side and the Baroque wing was added in 1725.
During the 14th century, the Augustin collegiate achieved imperial immediacy, which made it direct subordinate to the emperor. The provost became the territorial lord and the monastery premises became his residence. In 1559, the monastery was raised to the status of provostry.
After mediatisation (meaning lifting of the spiritual status) in 1803 and the concomitant end of provostal rule, the Land of Berchtesgaden came for short periods under different rules until, in 1810, it became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Since 1818, Berchtesgaden Castle has been used as hunting lodge by the kings of Bavaria. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria made it his residence and lived in it with his family from 1922 until 1933. The rich furnishing of the castle with works of art is due to him. To these days, the head of the House of Wittelsbach, Duke Franz of Bavaria, uses the castle as summer residence.
Many different style eras have set their stamp on Berchtesgaden Royal Castle: from Romanesque to Gothic and Baroque, right on to Rococo. Throughout the ages, at has been expanded and modified again and again. The cloister and its late Romanesque sculptures are evidence of the castle’s origins in the High Middle Ages. After 1818, the erstwhile monastery was used by the Wittelsbachs as hunting lodge. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (1869-1955) lived here with his family from 1922 until 1933 and used many rooms for exhibiting items from the art collection of the Wittelsbachs. They include two retables by Tilman Riemenschneider of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and also valuable hunting weapons and trophies as well as, at 18 kilogrammes, the heaviest antlers of Bavaria. Precious furniture, exquisite porcelain and paintings by major artists, especially from the 'Munich School', make it all complete. The view from the Upper Rode Garden over the Watzmann is considered to be the most splendid in the entire valley.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.