Obertagstein Castle was probably built in the 13th century by the Masein/Rialt family near Untertagstein Castle. In 1316 Margareta von Rialt left all her properties in Tagstein to her nieces. The first mention of a castle in the area is in 1322, but it probably refers to Untertagstein in Masein. In 1322 the male line of the Rialt family died out and it was inherited by the Bärenburg family. The Bärenburg family were ministerialis, or unfree knights in service to a higher noble, to Vaz family. After the extinction of the Vaz family in 1337, they became vassals of the Counts of Toggenburg and the castle was given to the Tumb family. They began to refer to themselves as von Tagstein, but again probably referring to Untertagstein. In 1385 and 1387 Untertagstein is specifically mentioned.
The castle was originally built with an outer gate at the south-west corner of the castle. This gate led to narrow path that wrapped around the southern side of the castle, passed through a middle gate and then led to an inner gate on the east side. At some point in the castle's history the western wall at the main cistern collapsed. The cistern was abandoned and the hole in the wall became a new gate. The old outer gate was then walled up.
In the 15th century the castle was gutted by a fire and abandoned. In 1512 the ruins of Obertagstein were recorded in the property of Cazis Priory. As early as the 16th century the castle was visited by hikers who carved their initials and dates into the plaster walls.
The castle occupies the entire top of a small rock outcropping south of Thusis. The castle complex is about 15 m × 15 m. Storage buildings and workshops were probably built on the mountain side of the outcropping and were separated from the castle by a ditch. Above the ditch was a ring wall that is mostly still standing. During construction the trunks of two trees were left standing and incorporated into the wall. Across a small courtyard, the palas filled the eastern end of the complex. The original entrance into the castle was on the east side of the palas, but after the cistern collapse the outer gate was sealed. The new western entrance had a wooden bridge over the ditch.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.