Taufers Castle (Castel Tures) perfectly fits the scenery in which it is located, as the high mountains of the valley serve as background. In succession of “Castel Tobel” in 1100 AD, Taufers has been mentioned for the first time in 1225. In the first half of the 14th century the Lords of Taufers were in possession of the castle, but when the last member of the family died in 1349 the castle continually deteriorated. The Romanic part of the castle - the donjon, the residential tower with double arched windows and the chapel - dates back to this time.
Only under the Dukes of Austria, the castle has been expanded in the 15th century. Buildings such as the lavatorium, drawbridges and wall walks were added. Ludwig Lobmayr renovated the castle for the first time in the early 20th century. In 1945, however, Hieronymus Gassner provided for maintenance works.
Today the South Tyrolean Castle Institute is in possession of Taufers castle. For the most part the castle is open to the public. The furniture in the 64 rooms is near-completely intact and old tiled stoves heat the residential rooms. Pine panelling, frescos by Friedrich Pacher in the chapel, armoires dating back to different eras, armaments and a huge library provide a special insight into the history of the castle.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.