Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Nikolo-Dvorishchensky Cathedral), founded by Mstislav the Great in 1113 and consecrated in 1136, is the oldest surviving building in the central part of Veliky Novgorod after the Saint Sophia Cathedral. It is on the World Heritage list as a part of object 604 Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings.
The cathedral is located outside of the kremlin walls, on the right bank of the Volkhov River at the Yaroslav's Court. It was founded by Mstislav, the prince of Novgorod, in 1113, however, the construction took over twenty years, and the cathedral was consecrated in 1136, when Novgorod was already a republic. Presumably, the cathedral was supposed to serve the residence of the prince located at the Yaroslav's Court and was connected to the residence. Mstislav was the Prince of Novgorod between 1097 and 1117, and during his tenure he founded a big number of churches. The completion date for the cathedral is not known precisely, however the cathedral was completed and consecrated by 1136. Chronicles mention that in this year Prince Sviatoslav Olgovich was betrothed in the cathedral.
Since the 13th century, the cathedral belonged to the city of Novgorod rather than to the prince, andveche was held near the cathedral. It was mentioned as cathedral in the 17th century. The cathedral was renovated several times in the 18th and the 19th centuries, as well as in 1913. Since 1933 it was open both as a church and as a museum. During the German occupation of Novgorod in World War II, it served as a barrack and was badly damaged. In 1945 the cathedral was returned to Russian Orthodox Church, however, since 1962 it was functioning only as a museum. In 1994–1999 the cathedral was extensively restored.
The cathedral is roughly squared in cross-section and has one dome. The roof is supported by four pillars. It is known that in the middle of the 17th century the cathedral had five domes. Apparently, the roof was considerably altered during one of the restorations in the end of the 17th century. Additional volumes were built at the northern (in 1822) and the western (1809) sides of the cathedral. Fragments of original frescoes from the 12th century survived. The best preserved fragment depicts Job.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.