The Villa Wartholz is a former imperial villa in Reichenau an der Rax. Villa Wartholz was designed by Heinrich von Ferstel in the historicist style in the years 1870 to 1872 for Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria. The castle-like building with towers was for recreational purposes, not for military means. The villa was designed with a view over the valley. Karl Ludwig spent so much time in this area, he reserved this place only for hunting by the imperial court. It was built near by his home Karl-Ludwig-Haus on the Rax.
This area around Reichenau was a popular tourist area for the aristocratic society since the construction of the Southern Railway. Members of the imperial family, and other members of the nobility, artists and scientists met at the Villa Wartholz. Nearby another palace subsequently arose, the Schloss Rothschild.
The villa also was used by Emperor Charles I of Austria and Empress Zita. Their son, Otto von Habsburg (1912 – 2011) was born in Villa Wartholz. His baptism and first Communion were received in the chapel, which was located in the villa. On 17 August 1917, Otto von Habsburg held a ceremony where he handed over the Military Order of Maria Theresa to 24 officers, among them Kövess, Dankl, Arz, Wenzel von Wurm, Cavallar and Banfield.
Due to the Habsburg Law the Wartholz villa was owned by the Austrian state. The Habsburgs staked a claim of private ownership and for many years this was a point of contention whether they would be reinstituted as owners. In 1973, the government sold the mansion to the State of Lower Austria. From this it was again sold in 1982 and is now privately owned.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.