The foundations and the basement of the Steinbach castle date back to the 11th century and are built with schist stone. The stone carved escutcheon built into the façade of the castle contains three scallops referring to Steinbach and Limerlé, and three sickles referring to Grumelscheid.
The Steinbach family and dynasty became lords of Rouvroy and Limerlé in 1451 and will keep this title and rule the region until the late 18th century.
During the Second World War the castle played a significant role in the Battle of the Bulge. It was beside a temporary headquarter for Leon Degrelle and his government a field hospital for both the German and US army.
The castle stayed in the hands of descendants of the Steinbach family until 2014 when it was sold to its current owners who used it as a second residence.
The castle has a very Austrian style architecture which can be explained by the fact that the castle was erected after a devastating fire in 1750 which burnt most of the existing castle to ruins. The architect was Albert Starck from Austria who during the Austrian reign of this part of Europe built several important buildings (today national monuments) in this area such as the rectory of Bovingy. The castle itself is built in 1.5-meter thick schist stone walls. The wings were added in the early 19th century and served as farmhouses. The farm was reachable from the outside leaving all privacy to the castle. The interior floors are built in schist stone and the style is Louis XV. The main entrance to the castle is carved out of Recht stone and contains the escutcheon of the Beurthé. The farms also contain a wood oven dating back to the 16th century. The oven is still in regular use today. On the top of the tower, one can see elephant shaped flags bearing the family escutcheons and building date. All buildings on this site are protected as national monuments.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.