Østofte Church was built in the 14th century. The Romanesque apse, chancel and nave formed the original building while the tower and porch were added in the Late-Gothic period and the north wing was completed in 1656.
The church was dedicated to St Peter, probably in 1345. King Christopher of Bavaria transferred ownership to Maribo Abbey as first documented in 1451. That ownership remained after the Reformation when Maribo became a convent for women. After a period of ownership by Christian IV's Sorø Academy until its closure in 1665, the church came under the Crown until 1687. It was then transferred to Eggert Christopher von Knuth (1643-1697). As a result, it came under the County of Knuthenborg on its formation in 1714 where it remained until it became independent in 1911. In 1881, Bandholm Parish was separated from Østofte after a new church was built in Bandholm.
The apse, chancel and nave of this red-brick church were built in the Romanesque period, while the tower with its pyramidal spire and the porch were added at the beginning of the 15th century in the Gothic style. The north wing was completed in 1656. The Romanesque sections are decorated with corner lesenes and are topped with saw-tooth friezes. The round-arched windows have either been enlarged or bricked in. Thin vertical blank windows decorate the top of the tower.
Fresco of Seth at Adam's deathbedIn the 14th century, star-shaped vaults were completed in the chancel and nave while the apse retained its half dome. The altarpiece, dated 1674, is rather unsophisticated baroque although the scenes in the central panel of the Last Supper and the Resurrection are somewhat earlier. The pulpit in the auricular style (c. 1650) presents cartouches of Faith, Hope and Charity. Investigations in 1908 revealed frescos in the chancel and apsis from two periods, c. 1300 and c. 1400. The latter are mostly well preserved with scenes from the Creation including images of Adam and Eve, the Judgment of Christ as well as several dragons.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.