Allaman Castle has its origins in the 11 and 12th centuries but the main components were built by Louis, Duke of Savoy, in 1253.
The wealthy Genevan philanthropist Count Jean-Jacques de Sellon, who owned the property until 1839, gave accommodation at the castle to political refugees, such as Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte, Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, Voltaire, Franz Liszt and George Sand. In 1820 de Sellon founded the Society of Peace, forerunner of the League of Nations and the United Nations Organization (UNO) and in 1830 the First International Peace Summit was held in Château d'Allaman. Since then, the Castle has also been referred to 'The Castle of Peace'. De Sellon was also instrumental in the abolition of the death penalty in Switzerland.
The Castle of Allaman is one of the largest private properties of Switzerland. The estate covers over 33 hectares and offers some 6,200 m2 of living space. The estate is surrounded by private forests, parks, gardens and Grand Cru vine yards. Recently completely restored and transformed, the Castle is owned by a Swiss family.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.