The Château de Miral overlooks the confluent of the Runes River and Tarn River. It belonged in the 13th century to the Cahbrieres family and from the 14th century to the Malbosc family.
Its keep was built towards the end of the 13th century as the seat of the Malbosc-Miral family. Its ramparts defended access to the upper Tarn valley. From the 14th to the 16th centuries, the Lords of Malbosc-Miral constructed their residence and outbuildings around the keep.
At the time of the French Revolution, the last proprietor, Charles, Count of Altier was guillotined with his son in 1794 and the castle was sold for 34,719 livres in 1796. The castle began to decline into ruins. Restoration work on the castle began in 1980.
Dating from the 13th century, the castle was closely related to the history of the disorders and wars in Gévaudan over five centuries. The fortifications include a massive square keep with a high round tower on one side, an assortment of buildingss and defensive works. Mullioned windows in the old seigniorial residence and the interior murals in the vault and the western building date from the Renaissance. The military architecture of 13th and 14th centuries is evident from the use of a natural defensive site with a double enceinte. It was an important local seigniory which exploited nearby silver mines. The castle has carved and painted decorations, one of the few civil buildings in this area to have preserved them.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.