Gamsutl: nestled high atop the peak of Mount Gamsutlmeer, this abandoned russian village is one of the oldest settlements in the region.

We are in the Gunibsky district of Dagestan, Russia, where lies Mount Gamsutlmeer. At an altitude of roughly 1,400 meters above sea level, resides the pictoresque village of Gamsutl, known to be one of the oldest settlements in the region. Translated from the Avar, the majority ethnic group of the republic, Gamsutl literally means “at the foot of the kahn’s fortress”, leading many to assume that someone named Khan chose this location to build his fortress or tower, to defend himself from his enemies. And, eventually, a community evolved around…

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Sinhagad: the lion’s fort in Pune – India

We are in Thoptewadi, India. Here stands a fort that for centuries was called Kondhana, named after the monk Kaundinya. The nearby temple and cave carvings indicate that the building is around 2,000 years old, despite it changed hands several times over the years as different factions controlled the region during the middle ages. The fort was important because of its strategic location, perched on an isolated cliff in the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, 1,312 meters above sea level, and it is ‘naturally’ protected due to its very…

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Maglič fortress: a mysterious 13th century piece of serbian history

Maglič is a 13th century medieval castle about 15 km southwest of the town of Kraljevo, in central Serbia, located on a hilltop surrounded by the curvy Ibar river. It is said that its name, Maglič, come from the Serbian word “magla” meaning fog, as the hill underneath often disappears in the mist. It is the best preserved and one of the finest examples of the Serbian medieval fortifications, built along the important Medieval roads for protection and control of traffic and trade. It’s unknown when the castle was constructed,…

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Burgruine Gösting: the castle ruins over Graz – Austria

Sitting in a valley surrounded by rugged hills, Graz is the second largest city in Austria and has historically been an important point of passage between Western and Eastern Europe. In medieval times, the hills around the city were fortified with watch towers and castles for defensive purposes. Few of these fortifications remain today, but one of the highest peaks still boasts the eerie ruins of one Gösting Castle, as a relic of the Holy Roman Empire. Due to its good strategic location, the castle controlled the narrow Mura valley…

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The battle of Frangokastello -Crete- and the Drosoulites

We are in Greece: Frangokastello, located in the south west coast of Crete, is a beautiful Venetian castle that was built in 1371 as a garrison to impose order on the rebellious Sfakia region and to deter pirates. It is just another testament to the Venetians desire to impose their rule, as the castle was never used by them. The castle has a rectangular shape, with a tower at each corner and the remains of a Venetian coat of arms above the main gate. The buildings within the walls and…

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Rocca Calascio: the highest castle in Italy

Rocca Calascio is considered one of the most fascinating places In the world and is immersed in an unique landscape telling the tale of a territory that is still largely to be discovered. Its story starts in the Middle Ages near the Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in central Italy. The castle is located in the municipality of Calascio, in the province of L’Aquila and lies within the National Park of the Gran Sasso and Mountains of the Laga. Perched atop a rocky peak 1,460 meters above sea level, Rocca…

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