Srebrna Góra Fortress was constructed in 1765–1777 when the territory was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. The fort is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments and has been declared a rare example of a surviving European 18th century mountain stronghold.
The fortress in Srebrna Góra was built by the order of Frederick II, the King of Prussia. It was designed by Prussian architect Ludwig Wilhelm Regeler, aided by a number of Prussian military engineers. Minor additional works took place in the following years, but no major alterations were made; construction of a nearby flanked fort was begun but was quickly abandoned. The complex is composed of six forts, several bastions, and associated elements. The main fort of the complex is the central Donżon Fort on the Warowna Góra hill.
The complex is located on the heights of the Sudety Mountains, a body which forms a natural border between the Kłodzko Valley and the Silesian Lowlands. It controls the passage through the Silver Valley (Przełęcz Srebrna or Silberbergpass). The fort could shelter a garrison of 4000 soldiers, supplied to survive a year-long siege. It was defended by 264 artillery pieces. The fortress was intended to guard a route linking Prussian territories with Bohemian lands in the south, and thus help repel any possible incursions from Austria.
The fortress was never captured by the enemy while besieged. On 28 June 1807 it successfully resisted a siege by Napoleonic forces during the War of the Fourth Coalition; this was the only time the fortress was the site of an active battle. By 1860 it was declared obsolete and the garrison reduced in size; it was abandoned as an active military stronghold in 1867. The fortress has survived till modern day with relatively little modernization or damage, contributing to its valuable status as a historical monument of its era. It served as a military training grounds, and by the end of the 19th century was already a tourist attraction, with a restaurant opened in the fort by 1885.
During World War II the fortress was used as a prison for Polish officers imprisoned by the Germans. In 1973 a military museum was opened in the Fort.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.