The area around Lauperswil and Rüderswil was originally part of the Freiherrschaft of Signau. By the 12th century it was controlled by the lords of Ruoderswilare, who ruled out of a castle south-west of Rüderswil. By the 13th century this castle was replaced by the new Wartenstein Castle at Lauperswil. It is unknown when this castle was first built, but by 1228 the knight Swaro von Wartenstein lived there. His descendant, Heinrich Swaro, sold the castle in 1284 to Trub monastery, but received the castle back as a fief from the monastery.
By 1288, the castle was owned by Werner von Schweinsberg. The Schweinsberg family also owned land and Attinghausen Castle in the Canton of Uri. Werner's son was the famous Uri Landammann Werner von Attinghausen who signed an early treaty and led Uri during the early years of the Growth of the Old Swiss Confederacy. However, the castle at Wartenstein remained with the Schweinsberg family.
During the Burgdorferkrieg, in 1383, Bernese troops captured and burned the castle. In 1415 the last male heir, Thüring von Schweinsberg, died, leaving the ruins of the castle to his son in law Ulrich von Balmoos. In 1493, the Basel Junker Wilhelm Hug von Sulz inherited the ruins from his grand-children. He built a country manor house in the valley three years later. The castle ruins continued to change hands throughout the following centuries. The Herrschaft of Wartenstein was dissolved and Lauperswil village became part of the Vogtei of Trachselwald.
According to local legend, during the Bernese siege, the last lord of the castle ordered all his treasure thrown down the well. He and his daughter then attempted to flee the castle, but their horse slipped on the narrow trail and they both and the horse fell to their deaths in the valley below.
Drawings from the 19th century show that the main tower was mostly intact at that time, though portions have now collapsed. In 1965 the remaining walls of the inner castle were excavated and repaired.
The heavily weathered castle ruins are located on a wooded hill above the village of Lauperswil. It is about 1 kilometer north-west of the village section of Zollbrück along the Rüderswil road. A steep, about 20 minute, marked trail begins in the hamlet of Blindenbach and leads to the ruins.
The castle was built on a narrow ridge above the village, on three hand carved terraces. The northern terrace may have contained a bailey but that is uncertain. The southern terrace held the main castle with a tower, courtyard and great hall. On the east slope near the castle there are still traces of a building as well as the castle well.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.