The Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares is now home to the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares. It is located in the Plaza del Palacio and this form part of the monumental set declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The building set dates from 1209. Two thirds were destroyed as a result of a devastating fire in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War. Is preserved is what is left intact after the 1939 fire, the damaged parts were not restored.
In this building came to reside different Castilian monarchs, were held synods and councils, and in here were born the youngest daughter of the Catholic Monarchs and future queen of England, Catherine of Aragon, and the German Emperor Ferdinand, son of Joanna 'the Mad'. In addition, it is famous for being the place where was performed the first meeting between the Catholic Monarchs and Christopher Columbus.
Currently the palace has 16 towers, highlighting the 'Tower of Tenorio'. Entering through the parade courtyard, appears the Renaissance main facade of the building. It is divided into two bodies, being the low of ashlar, with two floors of Plateresque windows that joins an upper gallery of gemanates arches. On the central window is a Baroque coat of terracotta, which replaced the imperial of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The blazon is of the Cardinal-Infante Luis Antonio of Bourbon, son of Philip V, first Bourbon replacing the Habsburg dynasty. This courtyard is closed at south by a cast iron grille, made in Belgium in the 19th century.
In the east wing, where was the 'Hall of Councils', was done in the 19th century a major restoration in its exterior and interior by Juan José Urquijo y Manuel Laredo, following the Neo-Mudéjar style. In 1997 was opened the restored neo-Gothic chapel that replaces the missing Hall of Councils. In the lower floor has made a modern auditorium, replacing the 'Hall of the Queen Isabella'.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.