<ul><li>The oldest town in Dagestan is Derbent which is more than 5000 years old according to recent excavations done by the European and Dagestani archeologists. The city is situated on the western coast of the Caspian Sea in the place where the mountains come close to the coast leaving a narrow stripe of a seaside valley three kilometers wide. </li></ul>
<ul><li>In ancient times there lay a famous Caspian tract – the only road from the steppes of South East Europe to the Near East. Namely in this place the most important strategic point there appeared the first settlement many centuries ago. </li></ul>
The name of the city goes back to the VI century and has the Persian Origin which means “The knot of the gates”. According to the Greek historians it was known in Europe in antique period as Caspian or Albanian Gates.
<ul><li>For many centuries it has been the border fortress of the states of the Near and Middle East in their fight against the nomad tribes from South east Europe the Scythians, the Sarmats, the Alans, the Huns, the Avars, the Khazars, etc. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Rulers of the Eastern Countries tried to fight with them most of their raids into the steppes failed. They were looking for ways to prevent the nomads’ invasions and decided to build in this narrowest place a fortress, the construction of which began in the VI century A.D. The citadel was situated on a hill near the mountains and the walls. </li></ul>
The North and South walls went deep into the sea and high into the mountains. The distance between the walls was 450 meters. So in this way they had managed to make a reliable obstacle on the nomads’ way. The fortress got the name Narynkala.
It has been rehabilitated recently and there are usually a lot of tourists there.
<ul><li>Nowadays it the second largest city in Dagestan and the southernmost city in the Russian Federation. It is economic and cultural centre of Southern Dagestan. </li></ul><ul><li>It is one of the main centers of viticulture, wine-making and canning </li></ul><ul><li>in the republic. There is a fruit-canning combine, a winery, an electric equipment plant there. Derbent is one of the carpet making centers in Dagestan. Here are situated the carpet-weaving mills whose wares are well known in Britain. </li></ul>