Thorberg Castle is a former Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse, now a prison, located in Krauchthal. Of the castle of the von Thorberg family, first documented in 1175, there remain only fragments of the foundations of the tower. The family died out in 1397 with Peter von Thorberg, the last knight: he bequeathed his many estates to the Carthusians, who converted the castle into a Carthusian monastery (or charterhouse).
At the Reformation in 1528 all the assets and property of the monastery passed to the state of Bern. The income from the Vogtei Thorberg was administered by a Vogt from the Bern patriciate. Until 1798 various care organisations, a prison and a hospital were accommodated in the monastery buildings.
In 1805 the former almshouse, which had provided shelter for the aged poor, was put to use as a reformatory, model school and ancillary (or overflow) lunatic asylum. To these were added in 1807 a further institution for the accommodation of those who 'had not really merited imprisonment'. The care organisations were replaced on 1 November 1849 by a workhouse or forced labour unit. The opening of the psychiatric clinic at Waldau near Bern made it possible to close the ancillary asylum in 1855. In 1893 a newly built cell block was opened as a prison; various other extensions were added during the 20th century, most recently in 1998.
From the Carthusian monastery there remain the women's guesthouse and the chapel, dating from 1510–15, the frescoes of which show the Adoration of the Magi and the Adoration of the Shepherds. A figure of the 'Man of Sorrows' by the sculptor Erhart Küng, master of works at the Berner Münster, formerly belonging to the charterhouse, is today kept in the Historisches Museum Bern.
The construction of the Baroque castle is from the time of the Landvogt. The old sandstone quarry nearby can still be seen, particularly the traces of hand-working and handtools.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.