Mont-Dauphin is one of the many places fortified by Vauban in the second half of the 17th century. Following invasions of Provence by Savoy in 1691 and 1692, Louis XIV dispached Vauban to put the frontier in a better state of defence. In 1692 he came to the Plateau de Mille-Aures, which overlooks both of the invasion routes used by the Savoyards, to fortify it.
The ground in question was on a high hill, roughly four-sided and only readily accessible on one side, another side being steep but passable and the further two sides being cliffs. This meant that the place would only require a short amount of bastioned front, the remainder only requiring a basic wall. The plateau was previously uninhabited, so it was decided that a new town would be built within the fortifications. Plans were made for a front of three arrow headed bastions and two demi-lunes in the north, where the defences were most approachable.
To the south, Vauban planned a trace of smaller bastions, this approach being all but inaccessable. The entrance here was carried over a small demi-lune. Later in the 18th century, the trace of the southern defences was altered, but this demi-lune remained, leaving it oddly skew from the wall. There were serious problems obtaining enough stone for revetting the ditches and ramparts. Thirdly, the threat of invasion from Savoy subsided before the fortifications were completed and the fortress lost its immediate importance. Despite this, Mont-Dauphin was strengthened after French troops suffered a defeat nearby in 1745. For the rest of the century, the barrack buildings multiplied, but some elaborate and extensive plans for extra layers of defence drawn up in 1747 were shelved.
One of the additions that was actually realised is a lunette called the lunette d'arçon, which is an advanced work in the north, but is connected to the fortress by an underground passage. The fortifications at Mont-Dauphin are in very good condition.
In 2008, the place forte of Mont-Dauphin, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the 'Fortifications of Vauban' group.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.