Ameglia Castle was mentioned from the 10th century among the castles belonging to the Bishopof Luni. Ameglia was an attractive site, as it was equipped with a court, a fish market and aport and was then supposed to have a great economic grouth. The castle was also mentioned in another document of 1174, in which it is written that the inhabitants of Pietracoperta – a territory destroyed by the Genoese - had lived in Ameglia and equipped it with a defensive tower during that year.
The castle became then the residence of the Bishop of Luni until the 14th century, when it was owned by Castruccio Castracani. In 1470 the village and the fortress were sold for 6.000 gold ducati to the Banco di San Giorgio from the Viscounts. From that moment on, the destiny of this area was linked to Genoa.
The defensive function of the castle ended in the 19th century, when it became the seat of the Municipality of Ameglia.
The construction period is uncertain, but it could date back to the Late Middle Ages due to its position close to the ridge between the moth of the Marinasco River and the monastery of Santa Croce in Punta Corvo. It was used as path to reach the hill of Montemarcello. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the village was built around the castle.
The structure of the castle is located on top of a hill overlooking the valley and stands in the middle of the village. The fortress is composed by a 2 floors rectangular building – where there is evidence of several reconstructions – by a circular tower and bythe trapezoidal defensive walls. Starting from the core of the castle, along the centuries new houses were built around the fortress. This phenomenon originated the fortified village, whose structure consists in concentric circles.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.