Bevilacqua Castle is considered one of the finest examples of its kind on Veronese territory. It was erected in 1336. Guglielmo Bevilacqua and his son, Francesco, were both commissioned by the Della Scala (Lords of Verona) to erect it. Originally erected for purely military purposes, the castle was damaged during the period of League of Cambrai and lost its strategic importance during the reign of the Venetian Republic.
In 1532 the famous architect Michele Sanmicheli transformed it into a country-house. The castle was burnt by the Austrians in 1848, and its subsequent restoration added the neo-gothic elements to the structure visible today, including the battlements.
During the Second World War it became a German Military outpost, before being handed over to the salesian Fathers up to 1966, the year in which it caught fire once more, before being sold to private investors. Thanks to careful restoration the castle has regained its former splendour and can be visited throughout the year.
Bevilacqua castle is now the backdrop for plays, concerts and suggestive Medieval Pageants such as the Medieval Spring and New Year Festival. It also houses a restaurant and a renowned banqueting hall and conference centre which offers every modern facility in a setting steeped in tradition and history.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.