The Castle of Capdepera is one of the largest castles on the Majorca island. Its construction began in 310, but in the fourteenth century it was rebuilt on the remains of a Muslim village.
The Castle of Capdepera is important to the island as it was from here that the surrender of Menorca, the island neighbouring Majorca in the Balearic archipelago, was accomplished. King James I of Aragon, having conquered Majorca, decided he needed his troops for the future conquest of Valencia. He devised a ploy to deceive the Muslims residing on Menorca and cause them to surrender. To do this, he ordered a large number of bonfires lit in Capdepera so that they were visible from the neighbouring island. This was to make the Saracen Menorcans believe that a large army had camped there and were preparing to invade Menorca. The ruse worked. So finally, at this very castle, James I signed the Treaty of Capdepera, through which the Menorcan Muslims were allowed to remain there in submission to the King of Aragon under tribute.
The first construction of a fortress on this site was by Romans. It was later enlarged by the Moors. It was destroyed during Christian invasions but they later constructed another structure in the same location in the fourteenth century.
King James II (1285-1295) having already founded the town of Capdepera in 1300, ordered the population of the area, which had been scattered, to build the walled enclosure surrounding one of its watchtowers now known as Miquel Nunis. Its strategic location on a hill allowed them to view the adjacent lands and sea channel separating the two islands.
The castle was occupied by military troops up to 1854 when it was abandoned. From then until 1983 it was under private ownership. At that time the owners donated it to the Capdepera Town Council. Today it remains open for tourist viewing throughout the year.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.