Bernstein Castle was first mentioned in the 13th century. In 860 the whole region was part of the archbishopric of Salzburg. The village name Rettenbach was not mentioned yet, but the old Slavic name of the nearby hamlet Grodnau is a sign of the existence of a nearby castle, identifiable with castle Bernstein.
Since 1199 the castle was part of Hungary. It is not exactly known when the castle was handed over to Frederick II, Duke of Austria, and how long it was his property; but in 1236 Béla IV of Hungary conquered the castle. Some years later (in 1260) he gave it to count Henry II of Güssing.
In 1336 the counts of Güssing and Bernstein were defeated by the Hungarian King Charles Robert of Anjou, and the castle of Bernstein became part of the Hungarian Kingdom. In 1388 the castle was given to the Kanizsai family. In 1482 it became property of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary for a short time; in 1487 Hans von Königsberg received the castle from Emperor Frederick III.
In 1529 the Turks besieged the castle, but they were not able to capture it. Another unsuccessful siege by the Turks followed in 1532. On that occasion the ring of bastions was erected in order to change the castle into a refuge.
In 1604 castle Bernstein was unsuccessfully besieged for weeks by a combined army consisting of Hungarians, Turks, and Tatars under the leadership of Stephen Bocskay. Due to an explosion of the gunpowder storeroom, in 1617 Ludwig Königsberg ordered the rebuilding of the Gothic inner part of the castle in Baroque style. The keep and towers were eliminated. A short time later (1644) Ehrenreich Christoph Königsberg sold the sovereignty and the castle to Count Ádám Batthyány. In 1864 Gustav Batthyány sell the castle to his manciple Edward O'Egan, whose heirs finally sold the castle to Eduard von Almásy. His family currently owns the castle. In 1953 a part of the castle was turned into a hotel and restaurant.References:
For centuries, the Astrakhan Kremlin was inapproachable stronghold in the south-eastern border of the Russia. The first construction of the Kremlin began in 1587-1588 under the guidance of I.G. Vorodkov, a lector of Discharge Order. He laid the first wooden fortress with powerful solid walls and towers. The place of construction was chosen on the hill, known as “Rabbit” or “Zayachii” in Russian.
During the reign of Ivan IV The Terrible and Boris Godunov the wooden fortress was rebuilt into a stone one. For the development of Kremlin walls and towers state-owned official masters were headed from Moscow to Astrakhan. For best results executives used the old, but very strong Tatar plinths which were brought from the ruins of the cities of the Golden Horde towns. Stone citadel was built by the type of Moscow Kremlin.
Next two centuries have become relatively calm for the Kremlin. Its buildings were repaired, rebuilt and renewed. However, in the beginning of 20th century after the October Revolution access to the Kremlin was closed. Instead it was transformed as a military post, where groups of Red Guards were formed the Military Revolutionary Committee was placed.
In January 1918 Astrakhan Kremlin was once again in the middle of fateful events, when supporters of Soviet power fought with Astrkhan Cossaks. They attacked The Red Army that was entrenched in the Kremlin, from roofs of nearby buildings. Serious destruction was caused to the Kremlin after this battle. In 1919 the Army was reorganized under the leadership of Kirov to protect the outfall of Volga and to defeat the White Guard troops and foreign interventionists.
Only after the end of the World War II the town opened the access to the Kremlin. At the same time Kremlin ceases to be subject of military purposes. In the mid-20th century significant restoration works were held, due to which many buildings, requiring urgent repairs were saved.
In 1974 the Astrakhan Kremlin became a museum. Nowadays citizens and tourists of Astrakhan have the access to museum exhibits of the lifestyle of the Astrakhan Garrison. Moreover they can see Casual Suits archers and scorers, elements of their weapons and ammunition, the exhibition dedicated to the history of popular uprisings and corporal punishment. In 2011, after the restoration of the kremlin, Guardhouse exposition was opened, which tells about the life of Astrakhan military garrison of the 19th century.
Construction of Assumption Cathedral began in 1699 and lasted almost 12 years. The bell tower was erected in 1710. The exterior of the Cathedral was decorated with molded brick and carved with white stone. Windows and dome heads were framed by columns in the style of Corinthian décor and semicircular arches were filled with paintings with biblical plot. Three of such arches were arranged on each side of the temple.
The cathedral was divided into two floors: the upper church is dedicated to the honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tall and light temple was intended for ceremonial worships during warm months. The lower church which is dark lightened and surrounded by the gallery columns.