The Château de la Napoule was constructed in the 14th century by the Countess of Villeneuve. Over the centuries it was rebuilt several times. In the 19th century it was turned into a glass factory. In 1918, it was purchased by Americans, Henry Clews Jr. and Marie Clews (1880-1959), who restored and moved into the castle. They added additional sections in their own personal style, with sculptures by Henry Clews Jr. The castle is owned by the La Napoule Art Foundation, which was founded in 1951 by Marie Clews, and serves as a cultural centre.
After Henry's death and during the Second World War, the castle was captured by German soldiers. Marie Clews served the soldiers by acting as the maid of the castle's staff so she could stay close to her home and the memory of her husband.
When the Clews acquired the castle, the park had cedar and eucalyptus trees, and had been abandoned for years. Marie Clews began the restoration of the gardens. The park of the castle today has elements of a garden à la française and of an English landscape garden, with a grand alley, basins, perspectives, and views of the sea. In addition, there are three smaller gardens in the Italian style: the Garden de la Mancha next to the Tower of La Mancha, under which the mausoleum of the Clews family is located; the terraces which overlook the Bay of Cannes, which are planted with cypress trees, hedges and rosemary; and the secret garden, in a corner of the walls with windows looking at the sea, with a Venetian well in the centre.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.