Tamme-Lauri oak is the thickest and oldest tree in Estonia. The height of the tree is 17 metres (56 ft), circumference is 831 centimetres (327 in), measured 130 centimetres (51 in) from the ground. According to researchers, the tree was planted around 1326. The oak has been hit repeatedly by lighting, damaging the branches, and the center had become empty. During restoration in 1970s an old hideout of forest brothers was found inside the cavity. Seven people could stand inside the tree before it was filled with 8 tonnes (18,000 lb) of reinforced concrete.The tree is still viable, although it has lost its top because of the lightning strikes.
The name of the Tamme-Lauri oak comes from Tamme-Lauri farm, which in turn got its name from the spirit that was thought to live in the oak, bringing bad and sometimes good luck. It was the spirit of fire called Laurits.
Tamme-Lauri oak was depicted on the back side of Estonian ten kroon banknote. The land where the tree is located was bought by Estonian Ministry of the Environment in 2006 and the oak has been under protection since 1939.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.