In 1623, Jean de Raval, Lord Tourlaville, and his wife Madeleine de la Vigne offered de la Vigne's cousin enough money to establish a monastery in Valognes that de la Vigne's would become the first abbess or 'superior'. The following year, the Bishop of Séez gave permission for a group of nuns to join the new abbey.
Plague prevented the nuns from taking up their new posts and construction did not begin until 1631. Later that year, enough construction had been completed so as to offer the nuns basic shelter and some took up residence. Finally King Louis XIII awarded a charter to Charlotte de la Vigne but she was not officially appointed until 1647. Construction was finally completed in October of that year.
Like other abbeys of France, Valognes suffered during the French Revolution and the persecution of religious orders.
During World War II, the abbey and it's surroundings were heavily bombed. In a single fortnight in June 1944, 84 bombs fell in the monastery. The nuns returned to a heavily damaged abbey. In 1653, a nun who had taken refuge in the abbey during World War I returned, was elected superior and led efforts to rebuild the monastery.
Though the abbey remains active, with resident nuns, most of the buildings have now been converted into the modern Hôpital de Valognes.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.