The Castello d'Albertis was the home of sea captain Enrico Alberto d'Albertis, and was donated to the city of Genoa on his death in 1932. D'Albertis designed the castle in the style of an architectural collage with a Gothic revival appearance inspired by palaces in Florence and castles of Aosta Valley. It currently houses the Museo delle Culture del Mondo (Museum of World Cultures), inaugurated in 2004.
Erected between 1886 and 1892 under the supervision of Gothic Revivalist Alfredo D'Andrade, the castle is located on the site of a 13th-century fortified area, which had been reinforced in the 16th century. Alberto not only based his design on the city's foundation, he incorporated and preserved the foundations of the bastion and one of the turrets.
The museum includes ethnographic and archaeological findings collected by both Enrico and Luigi Maria d'Albertis during their trips to Africa, America (from Canada to Tierra del Fuego), New Guinea and Oceania. There is a large number of weapons from Sudan and the Zambesi area Chinese spears and European halberds. There are several exemplars of Canadian and American plains indigenous people, made in buffalo and deer leather and covered by porcupine thorns; also findings belonging to the Maya civilization from Honduras are present.
It also exhibits models of ships and yachts, nautical instruments, photographs and the volumes of d'Albertis personal library.
A separate section dedicated to music (the Museo delle Musiche dei Popoli, 'Museum of Peoples' Music') exhibits musical instruments from the whole world.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.