Damsgård Manor is a landmark manor and estate in Bergen, Norway. It is noted for its distinct rococo style and is possibly the best preserved wooden building from 18th-century Europe.
The area surrounding the manor was most likely populated during the Viking era or earlier, but literary evidence shows it was a population center in 1427, listed as church property. Following the Reformation in 1536, the estate was taken over by the crown and then sold to foreign interests.
The name is most likely derived from Dam Tønneson, who in 1654 inherited the farm from his father Tønnes Klausson, who in turn received it from Frederick II of Denmark due to his service during the Northern Seven Years' War. The oldest sections of the structure, however, are probably from around 1720, when Severin Seehusen (1664-1726) owned the estate. At the time, the buildings were painted bright red and green. An estimate for the main house from 1731 exists and indicates the general layout of the structure. By all accounts, the estate was a year-round farm and a recreational property.
Joachim Christian Geelmuyden Gyldenkrantz (1730-1795), later knighted Gyldenkrantz, took over the farm in 1769 and quickly began the Rococo construction that exists to this day. He also rebuilt the main house to face the maritime approach to Bergen. Shortly after Gyldenkrantz died, the property was sold to Herman Didrich Janson, one of the wealthiest men of his time. He only completed minor external changes but thoroughly renovated the interior of the houses. The Janson family maintained ownership of the estate until 1983, when it was taken over by Vestlandske kunstindustrimuseum, which embarked on a 10-year restoration effort. It was put on the protected list, and Bergen Museum took over the estate.
Damsgård is one of the few buildings of the rococo architectural style in Norway, and is unusual as a rococo wooden structure in Europe. The facade of the main building exaggerates the dimensions of the house itself, and two windows are painted on to create symmetry. The building's interior layout has been restored to its original, early 18th century plan, and the interior to the different eras of Damsgård's history.
The estate has two gardens inside its walls and one outside. The eastern garden, located inside the walls, is known as the 'Master's garden', the western garden, also located inside the walls, is known as the 'Mistress's garden', while the garden outside the walls is known as the 'English garden'. After decades of detoriation, the gardens were restored to their 18th century state in 1998. Botanists from the University of Bergen helped decide which vegetables and flowers would be grown to make them as much like the original gardens as possible.
The eastern garden, also known as the Lord's garden, is strictly symmetric, with six squares of plants and pathways of white shingle. The western garden, known as the Lady's garden, is far less symmetric, with two ponds and a small statue of Neptune spouting water into one of the ponds. Both these gardens are surrounded by walls. This is not the case with the English garden. Laid out in the 18th century, it only became an English garden around 1830. This garden contains a small stream and a path, and is open all year.
The museum of Damsgård is open to the public by tour only.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.