The origin of the former Fala Castle may date back to the 15th century. Oton Der Pergauer ruined the old castle around 1407, but there is no written data on this. The first written record of the old castle however dates back to 1311. The structure and the land was at that time owned by a Benedictine monastery St. Paul’s Abbey from Carinthia. Upon valuation of assets in 1542 the castle was evaluated at 200 pounds and was thus for the first time directly certified.
The building and the Drava blockade, the so called Turkish Wall, which could be closed in times of danger, were fortified by St Paul’s Abbey prior Jakob Pachler in 1550 because of continuous Ottoman attacks. To be able to pay off the money used for fortification, Pachler rented the castle to Luka Szekely of Viltuš for 6 000 florins. The Abbot Vincenc Lechner gave the castle to his brother Niklas, and only Abbot Hieronim (1616-1638) managed to get it back from the Lechner family after a long process. Hieronim appointed a prefect and turned the castle into a monastery. The castle housed monks, people employed at the castle and its lands, as well as professors and clergy studying at the monastery.
Today the castle is furnished in the 17th century style and open to the public.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.