The Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Protestant Church is one of the most important church buildings in Strasbourg. The church has been Lutheran since 1524 and its congregation forms part of the Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine.
The oldest part of the church is the small lower church used as a burial crypt, which is the remains of a Columban church erected in the 7th century. Three of the four arched galleries of the cloister date from the 11th century, the fourth arched gallery is from the 14th century. The Gothic main building, with its numerous chapels and the lavish rib vault dates from the 14th century. There are many frescoes from this time and the following one-and-one-half centuries, memorial slabs and monuments, the baptismal font, the central painting of the high altar and the choir screen, now unique in Alsace, which have also been maintained.
In 1780, the now nationally famous choir organ of Johann Andreas Silbermann was built (restored in 1948 and 1966 according to the rules of the Organ reform movement). Helmut Walcha recorded a large part of his performances of Bach's organ works here. The pulpit also dates from the same century, as well as another altar.
Between 1897 and 1901, the church, which had fallen into disrepair, was fundamentally overhauled by the Karlsruhe architect Carl Schäfer, one of the most important representatives of neo-Gothic sacred architecture in Germany. At that time, the entrance was moved to the side and a new main portal was created, a copy of the northern entrance of the facade of the Strasbourg Cathedral. The cloisters were painted in polychrome, following the example of the Hortus Deliciarum. The life-sized baptismal angel statue, along with the chapel and the choir glass windows, also date from this time.
An organ built in 1762 by Johann Andreas Silbermann in the Catholic part of the two-part church of that time was transferred in 1865 to the St. Moriz Church of the parish of Soultz-les-Bains. There, it has been restored to its 1848 condition, a compromise between the original baroque Silbermann settings and the later Romantic tone and harmonic extensions, by the family of Alfred Kern & fils between 2006 and 2008.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.