A fort at the site of Itter castle was first mentioned in a 1241. The previous constructions may have existed since the 10th century. The Brixental originally was a possession of the Prince-Bishops of Regensburg; the castle was an administrative seat of the Counts of Ortenburg in their capacity as Vogt bailiffs, it also served to protect the Regensburg estates from incursions undertaken by the neighbouring Archbishops of Salzburg. Nevertheless, the Brixental was acquired by Salzburg in 1312 and in 1380 the Regensburg bishops finally sold Itter to Archbishop Pilgrim II of Salzburg.
The castle was devastated during the German Peasants' War in 1526. In the 17th century, the seat of the local administration was moved to Hopfgarten, whereafter the premises decayed. After 1805 the castle was left to citizens who used it as a quarry.
The present-day building was erected on the foundations of the former one from 1878 onwards. Itter Castle was purchased as a residence in 1884 by Sophie Menter, pianist, composer and student of Franz Liszt. Liszt himself as well as young Arthur Rubinstein stayed at the castle, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestrated one of his compositions during a visit in 1892. Menter sold Itter Castle in 1902, it was again extensively remodeled in its present Tudor Revival style by later owners.
In 1943 Itter castle was transformed into a prison. Established to incarcerate prominent French prisoners valuable to the Reich, the facility was placed as a subcamp under the administration of the Dachau concentration camp.
After the war, the castle fell into disrepair until 1950 when Willi Woldrich acquired it and turned it into a luxury hotel. However, the hotel encountered financial problems and it was acquired by a holding company before it was sold to a private owner in 1985. Since that time, it has remained in private ownership and is not open to the public.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.