During the Middle Ages the Fribourg noble family of Riggisberg was established with a seat in Riggisberg. The first one that appears in a historical record is Constantin de Rucasperc in 1140. The family soon lost or sold all their rights and land in the village and by the 13th century other nobles and monasteries owned parts of the village. In 1337 the Riggisberg line died out and their remaining estates passed on to other owners.
The castle was inherited by various families and relatives over the following centuries. In 1686, Hans Rudolf von Erlach lost the rights to the castle due to a judgement of the court. The castle was sold to Gabriel von Wattenwyl and he became the Schultheiss and owner of Riggisberg. Four months later he sold the estate and title to Albrecht von Erlach and the estate came back under the Erlach name. Around 1700 Albrecht decided to build a new, more comfortable castle near the First or Long Castle. In 1700 Albrecht von Erlach's new and more comfortable castle was finished.
The Steiger family opposed the new Helvetic Republic and Karl Friedrich stayed in Prussian controlled Neuchâtel while plotting the overthrow of the new Republic. The weak Republic government was unable to enforce its will and finally collapsed in 1802. Karl Friedrich joined the Committee that managed the country until the Act of Mediation in 1803. Switzerland remained a vassal state of the French Republic until Napoleon's defeat and the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Karl Friedrich Steiger became a Bernese Senator, an office that he held until his retirement in 1826. After retiring he spent his summers at Riggisberg Castle until he sold it to his youngest son Franz Georg von Steiger in 1830.
On 31 August 1832, weapons and ammunition were discovered at the Erlacherhof, which had been stockpiled by the 'Council of the Sevens' who planned to overthrow the reform-minded government. Franz Georg von Steiger was wrongly suspected as a co-conspirator, arrested and then set free after he paid a fine of fifty francs.
In 1869, his cousin, Robert Pigott from Ireland, inherited the estate. About a decade later, in 1880, he sold the castles to the Canton of Bern, who converted it into a poorhouse. In 1965-70 the new castle was renovated and converted into a district administration building.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.