Jemeppe Castle is located in Hargimont, now part of the municipality of Marche-en-Famenne. It is known that during the Roman era a fortified villa was established in the region. The present castle is however of medieval origin.
In the Middle Ages the manor of Jemeppe consisted of only a few buildings, surrounded by marshland and the river Hedrée. These offered little protection against the ruling families of Namur and Luxembourg, who had been fighting to gain control of the territories of Durbuy and La Roche since the 12th century. A fortified house was built here in the early 13th century, later replaced by Jean d'Ochain with a donjon protected by moats.
Originally, the donjon had five storeys. Access to the upper and lower floors and the two cellars is via the ground floor, through the only door in the tower. The first two floors were designed as living quarters, and the two floors above that were of a more basic design and used as staff quarters, for storage, and to provide shelter for inhabitants from the manor of Jemeppe seeking refuge.
The donjon remained in the d'Ochain family until 1616, when the heiress, Catherine de Jemeppe, married Raes d'Ans, sieur de Velroux. It was probably Raes d'Ans, shortly after acquiring the property, who extended the fortified tower with living quarters into a square castle building. The wings of the castle, double moat and farmstead also date from that period. The wings were modernized in 1739 and 1748, and more windows were added. Restoration work was also carried out at the beginning of the 19th century, including on the gallery and the gatehouse next to the donjon.
In 1838, the castle passed to the de Sauvage-Vercour family. Between 1865 and 1875, Adrien de Sauvage-Vercour had extensive renovation work carried out on the castle. Attics and pitched roofs were added to the wings. He also commissioned an unknown architect to build a 'crowning apex' on the donjon, and the old flat roof was replaced by the present steep roof. After the work was completed, weathervanes in medieval style were added to the tower roofs. One of the vanes still bears the de Sauvage-Vercour monogram.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.