The central tower and oldest part of the Rietberg Castle was built in the 13th century, though it may have been built around an earlier 12th-century tower. It was built for the Lords of Rietberg, who in 1286 were vassals of the Freiherr von Sax-Misox. In the 14th century they became vassals of the Bishop of Chur. At that time they held the castle and estates in Schams, Chur and Oberhalbstein and were the bishop's representative in Oberhalbstein and Oberengadin. The last male member of the Rietberg line, Johann von Reitberg, attempted to guarantee that the castle and his estates would pass to his wife, Berta von Rhäzüns, and to his relative Hermann von Landenberg. However, after his death in 1349 the Bishop of Chur claimed the castle. In 1353 he succeed in forcing the Landenbergs to sign away their claim to the castle and estates. Other claims to the castle continued to simmer until 1388 then the Bishop paid off the Lords of Rhäzüns and Lumerins to settle their claims.
The Bishop used the castle, its estates and the office of vogt as collateral for loans from a number of wealthy families or as a reward for gifts from those same families. In 1384 Eglolf von Juvalt lived in the castle. In 1398 the bishop mortgaged the castle to Jakob von Castelmur for 500 silver marks. It was mortgaged again in 1409 to Conradin Rambach and the cathedral chapter, again in 1426 to Bartolomäus Planta and in 1447 to Hans Wellenberg. In 1450 it was mortgaged to Hans Ringg, who passed it to his son Wilhelm in 1483. It continued to used as collateral into the 16th and 17th centuries. Around 1530 it went to Anton von Travers, followed by Hercules von Salis in 1554. In 1617 it came to the Planta family.
It was the site of the murder of Pompeius Planta in 1621 by Jörg Jenatsch during the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants known as the Bündner Wirren.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.