Finlaystone House is a mansion and estate in the Inverclyde council area. Finlaystone was a property of the Dennistoun family, and passed to the Cunninghams in the 15th century. It was the seat of the Earl of Glencairn until 1796, and is now the property of the Chief of Clan MacMillan.
In the late 14th century, King Robert II confirmed a grant of the lands of Finlaystone to Sir John de Danyelstoun. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Robert, who was keeper of Dumbarton Castle. When he died in 1399 his estates were divided between his daughters. Elizabeth inherited Newark Castle, while Margaret inherited Finlaystone. In 1405 Margaret married Sir William Cunningham, whose family held the estate as the seat of Clan Cunningham until the 19th century. William's grandson Alexander Lord Kilmaurs (1426–1488) was created Earl of Glencairn in 1488. The family were supporters of the Scottish Reformation, hosting the world's first Protestant Reformed communion service by the preacher John Knox in 1556.
The architect John Douglas was commissioned to design a new house in 1746, but building works were not carried out until 1764. The new house incorporated part of the 15th-century castle. In 1796, the 15th Earl of Glencairn Lord Kilmaurs, Chief of Clan Cunningham, died without issue, and Finlaystone passed to a cousin, Robert Graham of Gartmore, whose family took the name Cunningham-Graham. The Cunningham-Grahams sold Finlaystone in 1862 to Sir David Carrick-Buchanan, who in turn sold it in 1882 to George Jardine Kidston. Kidston commissioned the architect John James Burnet to carry out a Scots Baronial style remodelling of the house, completed in 1903. The grounds of the house were extended and planted during the early 20th century. Kidston's granddaughter Marian married General Sir Gordon MacMillan, Chieftain of the Clan MacMillan. Their son George Gordon MacMillan is the current chief and owner of Finlaystone. The estate is operated as a visitor attraction, with walks and play areas in the 4.0 ha gardens.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.