Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as South Bohemian folk Baroque, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages. Holašovice was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
Holašovice is first mentioned in 1263. In 1292, King Wenceslaus II gave the village and several others to the Cistercian monastery of Vyšší Brod. It remained the property of the monastery until 1848.
Between 1520 and 1525, Holašovice was nearly wiped out by the bubonic plague. Only two of its inhabitants survived. A column erected over the plague grave at the north end of the village commemorates this event. The monastery gradually repopulated the village with settlers from Bavaria and Austria. By 1530, the population had risen to 17, according to the monastery's records, and it had become a mainly German-speaking enclave within the Czech language area. By 1900, there were 163 inhabitants of German ethnic origin and 1 of Czech ethnic origin.
After the displacement of German residents at the end of the Second World War, many farms in the village were deserted and fell into disrepair. Holašovice became a desolate and abandoned place under the Czech post-war Communist regime. From 1990, the village was lavishly restored and inhabited once more. It now has a population of around 140.
Holašovice consists of 23 brick farmyards containing 120 buildings, each with their gable end facing a central broad village green, with a fish pond and chapel. The buildings date from the 18th to 20th century, with most of them built in the second half of the 19th century. They are constructed in the South Bohemian Folk Baroque style. The chapel of St. John of Nepomuk in the city centre was built in 1755.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.