The Verudela Fortress is one of the best preserved fortresses. When its control over Pula commenced, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy decided to transform the town into the Monarchy's maritime centre, which meant the construction of not only numerous newly-built structures such as the arsenal, hospital or the Hydrographic Institute, but also its defensive system. Thus, a magnificent fortification system was erected, which included not only Pula but also some of its neighbouring villages such as Medulin or Fažana.
In the period from 1881 until 1918, 31 structure was erected along the area of Pula and its near surrounding, including artillery batteries and other necessary structures. The Punta Christo fortress, which is the biggest Austro-Hungarian fortress, was built in Štinjan, on the namesake Kristo peninsula. Erected in the late 19th century, it spread across more than ten thousand square meters and had as many as 270 rooms.
The fortress had an excellent geographic position with a view of the entrance into the Pula Bay and the jetty from one, and of Muzil and the Brijuni islands from the other sea side. A trench was dug up around it, separating it, while the passage was possible only through one of the three entrances.
The interior yards of the Punta Christo fortress provide the access to its underground premises. The fortress was abandoned after the WW2. Having been neglected, abandoned and dilapidated for a number of years, it was finally cleared. Today it is used as a site for organizing concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events.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.