The rocky heights above Brienz Lake were first occupied and fortified by the Late-Bronze Age. During the Middle Ages, the land around the castle was owned by the Barons of Brienz and Raron. Around 1231, they moved to Ringgenberg village and soon thereafter into the castle. Ringgenberg Castle was probably built in several stages during the 13th century. It first appears in the historical record in 1240.
During the 13th century, the Counts of Ringgenberg expanded their power, often at the expense of Interlaken Abbey. The ruin of the estate began in the time of Philipp von Ringgenberg (1351–1374). In 1351 part of the estate was sold to the Abbey. In 1381 Ringgenberg castle was burnt and plundered by troops from the Canton of Uri and Count Petermann von Ringgenberg was taken in chains to Obwalden. In 1386, the castle and lands were assigned to Bern. However the city lacked the funds to rebuild the burned castle and in 1411 and 1439 parts of the castle and village were sold to Interlaken. A few years later, in 1445, Bern reacquired the land, but lost it again in 1457.
In 1528, the city of Bern adopted the new faith of the Protestant Reformation and began imposing it on the Bernese Oberland. Ringgenberg joined many other villages and the Abbey in an unsuccessful rebellion against the new faith. After Bern imposed its will on the Oberland, they secularized the Abbey and annexed all the Abbey lands. Ringgenberg became a part of the Bernese bailiwick of Interlaken.
The church was built in the ruins of Ringgenberg Castle in 1670 under the architect Abraham Dunz. Dunz incorporated the castle walls and one of the wall towers into the new village church.
The castle ruins were repaired and renovated in 1928, 1946–49 and 2006–08.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.