The Doria Castle is situated in a dominant position overlooking the Dolceacqua village. The first mention of the castle and the village, called at the time Dulzana, dates back to 1177 in an ancient document in which abuts the property of the counts of Ventimiglia. Will be in 1270, almost a hundred years later, the feud and its manor house will be purchased by Oberto Doria - the latter founder of the famous dynasty that will dominate Genoa and its Republic - which will expand its territories in the Nervia Valley up to the villages of Apricale, Perinaldo and Isolabona.
The castle will be in the 14th century in the center of fights between the factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and the Doria family, exponent ghibellina, will therefore have to undergo two heavy sieges in 1319 and in 1329; the sieges were ordered by King Robert of Anjou, Count of Provence and the Guelfa, who succeeded in his aim of conquest forcing the Doria to submit to his will. The lords of the family will become therefore the vassals of the latter and afterwards of the Republic of Genoa. In 1744 the castle was once again the scene of clashes and furious battles because of its strategic position deemed important for the possible obstacle that could create to the French army and Spanish. The two armies, Allies, succeeded after violent struggles to conquer the fortress on 27 July 1745.
Originally the structure was composed in the 12th century by a circular tower - still existing at the center of the complex - and by a smaller building where he lived the office of guard. The castle was enlarged in the 16th century by the then lord local Stefano Doria, to which he added to the previous structure a bastion rammed in the eastern sector and the two square towers are identical. Today the structure appears as divided into two blocks, the front part was in fact intended to control and safety of the village as well as local service, prisons and warehouses; the rear, connected with the front body through a large courtyard, was instead where they were located the environments of the representation and reception of guests and where did the local lords.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.