Derbent (sometimes "Derbend" or "Darbend") is an ancient city located along the Caspian Sea in what is present-day Russia. Although the area in and around Derbent has been continuously inhabited since at least the 8th century BCE, Shah Yazdegerd II (r. 438-457 CE) of the Persian Sasanian Empire founded Derbent in 438 CE as a fortress city to curb raids from nomadic peoples into the Caucasus from Central Asia. Derbent can claim to be the oldest occupied city in Russia, and it is the southernmost Russian city, lying only 50 km (31 miles) from the border with Azerbaijan. Derbent is renown for its citadel (“Naryn-Kala” or “Dagh Bary” in Persian) and its imposing walls that date from the 6th century CE. Derbent prospered for over 1,500 years under Persian, Arab, Turkish, Azeri, Mongol, Timurid, and Russian rule due to its position on the Silk Road and geostrategic importance as the gateway to the Caucasus. UNESCO declared Derbent's citadel, ancient city, and defensive walls to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 CE.

More about: Derbent


  • 438 CE
    Fortress of Derbent is founded by Shah Yazdegerd II.
  • c. 570 CE
    Construction of the current citadel, fortified walls, and city walls begins at Derbent at the request of Shah Khosrow I.
  • 627 CE
    Khazar attack on Derbent.
  • c. 643 CE
    Derbent in Arab hands.
  • 2003 CE
    Derbent's citadel, ancient city, and defensive walls are declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.