Hakoinen Castle was an ancient hill fortification, but nowadays there's only some ruins left. Dated medieval, the fortification was situated on a very steep rock by lake Kernaala (Kernaalanjärvi) reminiscent of a hill fort tradition. The top of the rock is 63 meters above the water level in the lake. Today very little remains of the castle. Equally little is known about its origins. One postulation is that it was built by the Swedes as their original stronghold in the medieval Häme area.
The castle was probably built at the end of the 13th century or during the early 14th century. It has been speculated that Hakoinen might have been the fort that was attacked by invading Novgorodian forces in 1311 during the Swedish-Novgorodian Wars, as described in the Novgorod Chronicle.
Eventually Hakoinen was left out of use. Some activity seems to have remained there until 1380s. The castle rock was later a part of a large estate belonging to the bailiff of Häme Castle. According to excavations, the castle was divided into two parts. Lower defensive constructions were mostly made of wood. Constructions on the rock were made of bricks and rocks. The castle probably had one tower.
Although very little remains of the castle, the medieval flora and huge sights from the top of the hill makes Hakoinen castle hill interesting place to visit.
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.