Roudnice Castle was built in the 12th century by Bishop Jindřich Břetislav, the nephew of the Czech king Vladislav I, to protected an important trade route from Prague to Upper Lusatia along the Elbe. The castle complex included several farm buildings, protected by a fortified wall; the castle itself had walls that were two meters thick, and watch towers in each corner. In the mid-14th century, it was rebuilt in a Gothic style and became a favorite summer residence for Prague bishops. It is said that Jan Hus was ordained as a priest there.
In 1421, the Catholic Church sold the castle to Jan Smiřický, who renovated it once again. George of Poděbrady, king of Bohemia (1420-1477), captured Roudnice from Smiřický in 1467. It passed into the ownership of William Rožumberk, the Supreme Burgrave and one of the wealthiest men in Bohemia. After Rožumberk’s death, his widow Polyxena Pernštejn married Zdenek Vojtěch of Lobkowicz, Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom and later 1st Prince Lobkowicz, bringing Roudnice into the Lobkowicz family’s possessions. In 1652 their son Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz, embarked upon an ambitious project to transform the castle into an early baroque palace. From 1657 until the Second World War the Lobkowicz Collection's library was stored in Roudnice Castle, leading to the library being named the Roudnice Lobkowicz Library.
The castle is open to the public. The basic tour includes visits to the courtyard , tour of the castle chapel with předsálím with information about the family Lobkowicz, a tour of the Romanesque castle from the courtyard, the view from the balcony of the castle. The wine tasting tour includes a tour of the foundations of the original Romanesque castle from the 12th century with a presentation of the town, the castle and the winery.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.