St. Peter's Church is the oldest of three town churches found in the Hanseatic city of Rostock, in northern Germany. It was built in the middle of the 14th century. The first reference to a church on this site is in 1252, which is thought to be the predecessor of the current building. The triple-nave basilica is in Brick Gothic, a building style typical of the Hanseatic port cities of northern Germany.
The pre-existing church had a tower 127m high which was destroyed by a thunderbolt in 1543. In 1578 the tower was rebuilt as a polygonal spire after it had been, once again, damaged by storm. With a height of 117m the tower served as a familiar landmark in the local area. In the following centuries the church decayed and in 1902 the Basilica was renovated. Forty years later, however, heavy bombing during World War II again damaged the church and led to the collapse of the polygonal spire.
Following the war, the building was gradually rebuilt. Today the church, roofed by a flat timber ceiling, reaches a height of 24m and in 1994 a glass window in the choir was built to a height of 17m. Public donations funded the building of a copper polygonal spire and this allowed St. Peter's to once again become a visible landmark in the surrounding area. Additionally, a 45m observation platform (accessed via steps and an elevator) provides fine views of the city of Rostock and the Baltic Sea.
The church is a three-nave Basilica with a high cross-vaulted ceiling in the west tower. On the north and south façade 4 times over are ever-alternating round arched arcades each with a large rectangular window. in the central aisle of the tower 3 high round arched arcades are on each side except the eastern side, where the tower joins the Basilica, at each of the four points there are 3 round-arched windows. The choir section is polygonal; at the north and south end is one small fiale with a pointed tip. The design of the dividing inner-wall exhibits the round-arched arcade design typical of Roman-Gothic style.
Prior to WWII damage, the arched gallery was open. However, it was only roughly rebuilt when reconstruction began. The light coming in from the large rectangular windows, flows over the gallery. The cross-ribbed vaulted ceiling that covers the northern end of the nave is preserved. However, the southern nave was too badly damaged to reconstruct the original. Also, the central nave couldn’t be restored, so instead a flat-timbered ceiling was put in place. The baroque decoration in the interior of the church was destroyed by fire during the WWII bombing of Rostock on the night of 26th and 27 April 1942. The stained glass windows of the choir are decorated with scenes from the life of St. Peter and were designed in the early 60s by local artist Lothar Mannewitz (1930–2004).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.