Anholt moated castle is one of North-Rhine Westphalia's few privately owned castles. It first appears in records in the 12th century. Further extensions in around 1700 created a grand Baroque residence with the feel of a palace.
Today, the moated castle is used as a museum founded by Prince Nikolaus of Salm-Salm, which features a private collection documenting his family's history. The historical housekeeping accounts reveal a wealth of information about the original room layouts and furnishings. Apparently, the 'fat tower' was once only accessible via a rope ladder above the entrance to the dungeon. The present configuration of three upper floors probably dates from the middle of the 17th century. Gothic arches are incorporated in the external brickwork and the wall facing the 'fat tower'. The adjoining room, formerly a guard room and armoury, later became the library.
The banqueting hall has a magnificent stucco ceiling from 1665 featuring the royal coat of arms and gold ornamentation. On display in the marble room, which was created in 1910, is the majority of the china collection dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. This room is graced by gilded furniture in the high baroque style. Besides the castle, visitors can also enjoy the extensive park (34 hectares) and several baroque gardens.
Visitors today can admire the different areas of the garden, such as the water garden, the island, the maze and the wild flower meadow. With its rich variety of plants and trees, many footpaths and expanses of water, Anholt moated castle is the perfect choice for a day out. Other castles in the region include Burg Bentheim and Wasserburg Gemmen, a moated castle dating back more than nine centuries.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.