Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, Český Krumlov was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. The historic city center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Construction of the town and castle began around 1240 by the Vítkovci at a ford in the Vltava River, at an important trade route in Bohemia. It was first mentioned in 1253 as Chrumbenowe. In 1302 the town and castle were acquired by the House of Rosenberg. The majority of inhabitants were German at that time. For 1336 it can be expected that Czechs were only a small minority, who had their own preacher.
In late 15th century, when gold was found next to the town, German miners came to settle, which shifted the ethnic balance even more. In the parochial church the sermons were preached in Czech until 1788, when St. Jošt Church was abolished.
Emperor Rudolf II bought Krumlov in 1602 and gave it to his natural son Julius d’Austria. Emperor Ferdinand II gave Krumlov to the House of Eggenberg and the town was seat of Duchy of Krumlov. From 1719 until 1945 the castle belonged to the House of Schwarzenberg. Most of the architecture of the old town and castle dates from the 14th through 17th centuries; the town's structures are mostly in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The core of the old town is within a horseshoe bend of the river, with the old Latrán neighborhood and castle on the other side of the Vltava.
After the First World War the city was part of the Bohemian Forest Region which declared to be part of German-Austria. By the end of 1918 the Czechoslovak army occupied the region. During the interwar era it was part of Czechoslovakia. In 1938 it was annexed by Nazi Germany, as part of the Sudetenland according to the Munich agreement. Between 1938 and 1945 it was part of the Reichsgau Oberdonau. After World War II the town's German-speaking population were expelled and it was returned to Czechoslovakia.
During the Communist era of Czechoslovakia, Krumlov fell into disrepair, but since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 much of the town's former beauty has been restored, and it is now a major holiday destination popular with tourists from Germany, Austria and beyond.
Český Krumlov Castle is unusually large for a town of Krumlov's size; within the Czech Republic it is second in extent only to the Hradčany castle complex of Prague. Church of St. Vitus is a Gothic church dating back to the 15th century with frescoes from the same period. Český Krumlov is also home to Pivovar Eggenberg brewery. It has also been used as filming locations for movies.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.