The Château Vicomtal Saint-Pierre de Fenouillet is a ruined 11th century castle in the commune of Fenouillet.
In the 12th century, Bertrand de Saissac, Viscount de Fenouillet, was one of the major vassals of the Viscount of Carcassonne. Bernard is known for his Cathar beliefs, and his dislike of the Catholic Church. It is likely that the first Cathar preachers came to Fenouillet around this time.
At the beginning of the 13th century Toulouse, Foix and Carcassonne, became targets of the crusade against the Cathars. Fenouillet was not the theatre of military operations, but it was enmeshed in irreversible political and territorial changes. Bertrand de Saissac, Viscount de Fenouillet, as a senior vassal of the Trencavels, Viscounts of Carcassonne, was directly involved in the fight against the Albigensian Crusaders.
With the treaty of Corbeil, Fenouillet becomes a border area under the authority of the Viguiers of the Kings of France. Castel Fizel was mentioned in 1260, and it seems that the castle there was enfiefed by the King of France to vassals in 1262. Fenouillet is mentioned as a royal fortress in 1272, but it was not until 1290 that we find Sabarda as a royal fortress.
During the XIII and XIV centuries the castle was completely dismantled. A ramp, probably intended to facilitate the work of demolition, was built against the door of the keep. This abandonment of the main site and the transfer of military defence to the small nearby castle of Sabarda can be explained by the fact that the broad promontory on which the castle of Fenouillet is built, could only be defended with the assistance of the people of Castrum. Given the small size of the royal garrisons assigned to monitor the border, it was more reasonable to modernised and strengthen a castle of a more manageable size.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.