In the mid-12th century, a priest named Turstin withdrew to a wooded Norman hill to live as a hermit, where he was quickly joined by a circle of followers. When Turstin died in 1200, the bishop of Bayeux established the community under the Rule of St. Augustine. Turstin's brother-in-law Raoul de Percy donated land for the abbey. Over the following years, the abbey continued to receive donation from nobility and farmers. At the end of the 13th century, a church and monastic buildings were built to replace the hermitage. In 1343 the abbey's gifts were interrupted by the Hundred Years' War and rivalries between pro-French and pro-English lords in the area. In 1347 the Black Death killed a third of the population, the abbey's lands were uncultivated and the Bessin was ravaged by armed bands. The abbey itself was ravaged by Richard Fitz Alan, 11th Earl of Arundel, in 1389.
Mondaye flourished again under the abbacy of Jean Feray (1512-1557). Its monks attended the university of Caen and included many doctors of theology among them. However, this high period was interrupted by the French Wars of Religion, with the abbey burned, its treasures dispersed and its abbot Julien Guichard killed by Huguenots on 5 September 1564. After the Council of Trent, calm returned and the monastery church was restored thanks to support from Anne de Médavy.
In 1631, Claude Leclerc du Tremblay was appointed commendentory abbot by the king and headed the abbey for the next 75 years. The Lorraine reform revising the Saint Norbert rule and making it stricter and closer to its origins was adopted by Mondaye abbey in 1655. Choosing a prior by the chapter of the congregation partly avoided the disadvantages of a commendatory abbot.
A total reconstruction was began between 1704-1763 to the new classicist style, to meet the then-prevailing need for grandeur in France. The church, monastic buildings, entrance pavilion and farm were all rebuilt, though with the order's austerity maintained by small cells and by only having chimneys in the prior's lodging, the warming house and the infirmary. In 1763 the abbey again fell under a commendatory abbot and building work stopped.
On the French Revolution the Premonstratensian order was despoiled of its goods and the 17 monks at Mondaye were dispersed or imprisoned. One of them was father Paynel, curé de Juaye, who took the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy before abandoning the priesthood to become mayor. Paynel did, however, reconcile with the church, saving the abbey church from destruction and taking nine priests opposed to the civil constitution into his house. Once the revolutionary turmoil was over, Father Goujon ceased to be clandestine prior and gathered together the local parishes. From 1806 to 1812 the monastic buildings housed a collège.
The Premonstratensian order moved back into the buildings on 13 June 1859, when the bishop of Bayeux solemnly handed back the keys to it to canons coming from the Belgian abbey at Grimbergen. The community underwent a major phase of expansion and increased their number of parochial missions, preaching tours and retreats. It also restarted work on building north and south wings in the classical style.
In June 1944 the Allied landings subjected the abbey to many days of bombing and, despite being completely restored, the abbey walls are still marked by the fighting in its surroundings. Rebuilding works on the most badly damaged part of the church began in 2007. The church, monastic building, pressoir, pavilion, enclosure, grange, grange aux dîmes, cloister and interior decor are now listed together as a monument historique.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.