Åre Old Church was built in the late 12th century entirely in stone, with inspiration from contemporary Norwegian church buildings, since Jämtland then was a part of Norway. It is situated at the Saint Olaf Pilgrim's Route (S:t Olofleden), and nowadays is the seventeenth stop on the route that goes from Selånger Old Church ruins at Sundsvall, situated at the Gulf of Bothnia, and crosses the Scandinavian Mountains via Stiklestad to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway — and remains the only stone church in the Scandinavian Mountains from the Middle Ages. Other remaining medieval churches in the Scandinavian Mountains are stave churches situated in Norway.
The original church's interior dimensions were only a mere 5x11 metres, with a choir of 2.5x2.5 metres. There were only three tiny windows, so it was quite a dark church. Preserved medieval artifacts in the church are two ship candlesticks, a processional cross and an unusual wooden statue of Saint Olaf. The statue does not show him as usual with an orb in his left hand and a war axe in his right wearing a crown, but only with an orb in his left hand wearing a tricorne uniform hat of the Caroleans. The wooden statue itself was dated as being from the 14th century, but it can be older.
After centuries of warfare between Denmark–Norway and Sweden, the Second Treaty of Brömsebro made Jämtland a part of Sweden. In 1673 the church had a pulpit installed at the southern church wall according to Norwegian traditions. The baptismal font and gallery at the northern church wall also dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1736 the church was extended almost 12 metres to the west. The old choir was converted into a sacristy, and the new entrance of the church was placed to the west with a porch in stone.
A mighty reredos was added over the new altar depicting the mourning Marys and the crucifixion of Christ in the centre. Higher windows were added as well as the current pews. The characteristical bell tower was erected during the 1750s by Erik Olofsson i Rännberg. It belongs to a group of typical belltowers of the 18th century Jämtland with its onion-shaped cupola.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.