The Grote Kerk of Harderwijk is a gothic cross-basilica, dating from the 14th and 15th century. Around 1435 work started on building a tower for the new church, which took five years to finish. In 1560 and 1561, when the roof was repaired, Ewolt van Delft painted the vaults. His paintings concern unique biblical tales. In 1578, Reformation took place in Harderwijk, and from that moment on the church has only been used for Protestant worship. During a thunderstorm on the 28th of January 1797, the east wall of the tower collapsed, together with half of the nave. Later the north and south wall followed, whereupon with a cannon shot the western wall was brought down. Only 2/5 of the old nave remained. It was enclosed with a new wall and a facade in a sober Louis XVI style.
In the period between 1967-1980, the church was restored thoroughly. During this restoration the unique ceiling paintings of Ewolt van Delft, hidden under layers whitewash, were revealed. In 1797, when the tower collapsed, the organ was buried under the debris. In 1824, an organ commission was formed and in 1825 the Bätz brothers from Utrecht were contracted to construct a new organ. On the 28th of January 1827, exactly 30 years after the collapse of the tower, the new organ was inaugurated. It had 23 stops, spread over two manuals and pedal. In 1891 the organ was restored and modifications took place.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.