Burntisland Parish Church was constructed for the Church of Scotland in 1592. It is historically important as one of the first churches built in Scotland after the Reformation.
The building is notable for its square design: the interior is 18m square with four arched piers reaching in diagonally from the corners to form a 6m square in the centre. Various models for it have been suggested, mainly in the Low Countries, but no candidate has been found to predate it, and it is therefore probably an original Scottish design.
It incorporates a gallery with a separate exit, for sailors to leave the service when the timing of the tide dictated that it was time to sail.
The tower was rebuilt by Samuel Neilson in 1748. Significant renovations were carried out by David Vertue in 1822; he enlarged the windows and removed many of the old pews.
It is decorated inside with carved wooden panels, many of which relate to the town's maritime history, depicting ships, shipowners, and nautical trades. As well as sailors, there were also areas for the guilds of schoolmasters, tailors, hammermen, maltsters, and bakers. A painted panel in the west gallery from 1930 commemorates the 800th anniversary of the old church at Kirkton.
The 1606 Magistrate's Pew (formerly known as the Burntisland Castle Pew) in the northeast corner was built for Robert Melville of Rossend. In 1907 Robert Rowand Anderson supervised renovation of this and other parts of the interior. The bell was cast by Isobel Meikle in 1708. The organ was paid for by Fife-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The church was extensively renovated in the 1990s.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.