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:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.