Zumelle Castle is located in the village of Tiago in the municipality of Mel. Nearby the castle is the early medieval church of San Donato, of Lombard origins.
A first fortification here existed perhaps as early as c. 46-47 AD, when the Romans were consolidating their hold in the Valbelluna, conquered in the 1st century BC. The construction sat on a strategical location, commanding the road coming from the plain through the Praderadego, which has been identified as the Via Claudia Augusta Altinatis or, more likely, one of its side branches.
During and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the castle was the major stronghold of the area as it guarded the connections between Feltre and Ceneda. According to a legend, the ruined fortifications were refounded by one Gaiseric, a faithful of queen Amalasuntha. After her assassination, he established here and had two twins (gemelle), whence the name. During the early Middle Ages the castle was the location of a feudal struggle, started in 737 when the Lombard king Liutprand appointed Valentino, bishop of Ceneda, as lord of Zumelle. This caused a controversy with John, count-bishop of Belluno, who already ruled these lands; the war was ended in 750 after the intervention of the new king Aistulf. In 963 emperor Otto I gave the county of Zumelle to the bishops of Belluno.
In 1037 emperor Conrad II assigned it to his baron Abelfred. The latter died with no male heirs, and the castle went to his daughter Adelheit, who married Wilfred of Colfosco. Their daughter Sofia in turn married Guecellone II da Camino, and thenceforth the castle was owned by the Caminesi family.
The castle was rebuilt in 1311 by Rizzardo IV da Camino, lord of Treviso, Belluno and Feltre, but after its conquest by the Republic of Venice it lost its importance. In 1501 it was sacked by imperial troops during the War of the League of Cambrai. Restored, it was subsequently owned by the Zorzi and Gritti families and, after the fall of the Venetian Republic, by the Austrian Empire. In 1872 it was acquired by the commune of Mel, which is still the current owner.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.