Fort Montecchio-Lusardi is a military fort situated in Colico, built between 1911 and 1914. It is the only Italian fort from World War I which has been preserved intact with its original weapons. The main function of the fort was to control the roads of Spluga, Maloja and Stelvio, in case the Central Powers decided to invade northern Italy, violating the neutrality of Switzerland.
The fort was one of the strongholds in a complex barrier system which extended up to Monte Legnone, though it remained inactive throughout the World War. During the World War II the fort also never entered a major action: the only gunshots were fired after the fort was occupied by the partisans, at a German column that marched along the opposite bank of the lake. The fort was later used as a weapons depot and eventually transferred to the state property.
Attractions in fort are four French 149 mm guns, with a range of 14 km, each rotating inside a cast-iron dome. The fort is divided into two parts: the lower area contains housing and powder magazines and the upper part contains guns. The two areas are linked by a curved gallery.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.