Borsh Castle (also known as Sopot Castle) dates from Antiquity, and its fortifications follow the trace of an acropolis, with four subsequent phases of reconstruction, ranging from the early Byzantine period to the late Middle Ages.
The site is first mentioned in the early 13th century, when archbishop Demetrios Chomatenos wrote of the 'archonship of Sopotos', part of the region of Vagenetia. In 1258, the Despot of Epirus Michael II Komnenos Doukas gave the castle along with Buthrotum and the island of Corfu as dowry for his daughter Helena to Manfred, King of Sicily. It came back under Epirote control soon thereafter, before being once again ceded by Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas to Charles I of Anjou in 1279. The area returned again to Epirote hands in the subsequent decades, but in the Epirote rebellion against Palaiologan Byzantine rule in 1338–39, it remained loyal to Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos.
Following the Ottoman conquest, a cadaster from 1431 lists Sopot with 60 households, and as capital of a nahiye. In 1456, troops of King Alfonso V of Aragon were operating in the area of Sobato against the Ottomans. In 1470 it was under Venetian control, under the jurisdiction of the governor of Corfu; at the end of the Ottoman–Venetian War of 1463–1479, the Ottomans laid claim to it and apparently received it, for in 1488 the local Albanian population rebelled against Ottoman rule.
The walls of the castle, which follow the ancient fortifications, survive. In the interior, the medieval fortress was divided through a wall in two. Triangular towers were added later, probably during the middle Byzantine period. In the interior of the castle stand ruins of various buildings and cisterns.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.