Sieraków Castle was built at the end of the 14th century on the initiative of the Nałęcz family. Maćko Borkowic, the Poznań voivode or his daughter Wichna, most probably began the process, and her grandson Wincenty continued it. In the middle of the 15th century Sieraków received Łukasz Górka coat of arms Łodzia, who rebuilt the castle. In 1571 it was taken over by the starost Jakub Rokossowski, and in 1591 Sieraków bought the castellan Jan of Bnin Opaliński, who raised the castle houses and converted them into a baroque residence. In 1763 castle and estate were bought by the baron Piotr Mikołaj Neugarten von Gartenberg, using the Polish name Sadogórski, and probably during his time demolition of the northern wing was carried, leaving only the southern wing. In 1829 in relation with the construction of a new road, the remains of the castle were demolished. Only the south wing survived. In 1991 it was decided to restore the remains of the castle and to put in it the tombs of the Opalinsk family. Construction work lasted two years. In the lack of the sources of the castle’s appearance, it was decided to reconstruct the southern range only.
The castle was east of the town and was separated from it by a moat. It stood on a regular, artificial mound. Its defenses was increased by the river, surrounding from the south. The earliest phase is connected with the emergence of brick curtain walls with the gate from the east. From the south, a residential range, initially timber or half-timber framed, was located. In the 15th century a brick north range with a width of 8 meters was erected with characteristic corner buttreses. At the same time, or slightly later, a new southern building of similar dimensions was constructed. Another redevelopment introduced new partition walls and a shorter west range connector.
Today, in the rebuilt south range of the castle, there is a museum which expositions present the history of the Sieraków Region from the earliest to the present. Particular attention should be paid to the tombs of the Opalińsk family, discovered in 1991 in the crypt of the church of St. Bernard.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.