Salzburg's Old Town (Altstadt) is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Salzburg is an outstanding example of an ecclesiastical city-state, peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire, from Prussia to Italy. Most disappeared as political and administrative units in the early 19th century and adopted alternative trajectories of development. No other example of this type of political organism has survived so completely, preserving its urban fabric and individual buildings to such a remarkable degree as Salzburg.
Salzburg is the point where the Italian and German cultures met and which played a crucial role in the exchanges between these two cultures. The result is a Baroque town that has emerged intact from history, and exceptional material testimony of a particular culture and period. The centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance to the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santino Solari.
The Salzburg skyline, against a backdrop of mountains, is characterized by its profusion of spires and domes, dominated by the fortress of HohenSalzburg. It contains a number of buildings, both secular and ecclesiastical, of very high quality from periods ranging from the late Middle Ages to the 20th Century. There is a clear separation, visible on the ground and on the map, between the lands of the Prince-Archbishops and those of the burghers. The former is characterized by its monumental buildings - the Cathedral, the Residence, the Franciscan Abbey, the Abbey of St Peter - and its open spaces, the Domplatz in particular. The burghers' houses, by contrast, are on small plots and front onto narrow streets, with the only open spaces provided by the three historic markets. Salzburg is rich in buildings from the Gothic period onwards, which combine to create a townscape and urban fabric of great individuality and beauty.
Salzburg is also intimately associated with many important artists and musicians, preeminent among them Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.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.