Schleswig Cathedral is the main church of Schleswig and was the cathedral of the Bishop of Schleswig until the diocese was dissolved in 1624. After the founding of Schleswig diocese in 947, the first cathedral in Schleswig was built. Today, neither the size nor the location of this cathedral is known. In 1134, construction of a new Romanesque basilica began. The work was only completed around 1200, because an additional nave was constructed that can still be seen today. Construction materials included granite, tuff from the Rhine, and brick.
After the collapse of two towers and some parts of the basilica in 1275, the High Gothic Hall Choir was constructed and completed around 1300. The Late Gothic Hall Church was built from 1200 to 1408 and was finally perfected in the 16th century. It was in 1894 that the cathedral got its final outward appearance. In 1888, when Schleswig became provincial capital, the construction of a Gothic revivalist western tower began at the request of the King William II of Prussia. It was finally completed in 1894 and was, measuring 112 metres, a little too high when compared to the proportions of the cathedral. There is a panorama platform on the tower at 65 meters which commands a great view on the city.
Beside the Gothic Altar of the Magi (ca. 1300) in the southern choir, a bronze baptismal font in the high choir by Ghert Klinghe (1480) and a four-metre-high wood carving of Christophorus, the cathedral's main attraction is the famous Bordesholm Altar.
Access to the cathedral is granted through the romanesque Petri Portal, dating back to 1180. A variety of materials were used for the portal's construction: granite, red sandstone from Skåne, limestone from Gotland and tuff from the Rhineland.
The sacristy, build around 1480, first served, indeed, as sacristy and conference room of the cathedral chapter and since 1567 as classroom for the cathedral's school. After the Reformation, it was converted to a Fürstengruft (tomb for the princes) as tomb for the dukes of Holstein-Gottorp.
Bishop Berthold arranged for an expansion of the High Choir at the end of the 13th century. Also, frescos were added, depicting the Annunciation, the Coronation of Mary, St. Catherine, St. Philippus, St. Peter, Deesis and angels. The choir banks were manufactured by an unknown artist working under the pseudonym Magister rusticus at the beginning of the 16th century.
The three-winged cloisters at the northern end of the nave, were constructed from 1310 to 1320, called the Schwahl. The name has its root in the Danish-Low German dialect and means 'cold alley'. It was used mainly for processions that left and re-entered the church on that way. Here, restored frescos from the church's foundation can be found. They show the life of Christ as well as a selection of legendary creatures. During Advent, a small art market takes place in the cloisters.
The altar, carved by Hans Brüggemann from 1514 to 1521 is the cathedral's main attraction. The oak wood altar, carved from 1514 to 1521, is 12.60 meters high and depicts biblical history from Christ's arrest to Ascension. Originally, the altar was manufactured for the Augustinian church in Bordesholm. After the priory's dissolution, the Duke Christian Albrecht of Holstein-Gottorp arranged for the altar's transfer to Schleswig Cathedral in 1666. A young Emil Nolde helped with the altar's restoration in Flensburg at the end of the 19th century.
In the northern choir nave, an elegant renaissance cenotaph for Frederick I, King of Denmark and Norway and Duke of Schleswig and Holstein, can be found. The tombstone, created for the choir in 1552 and put up there, was moved to its current position in 1901. It was called one of the 'masterpieces of Dutch renaissance art in Northern Europe' (M. Mehling). Its creator is the Flemish sculptor Cornelis Floris de Vriendt. Instead of the usual seven virtues, the (empty) sarcophagus stands only on six.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.