The Abbey of Saint Pancras of Backnang was founded before 1116 by Herman I, Margrave of Baden, and his wife, Countess Judith of Backnang-Sulichgau. Pope Paschal I confirmed the foundation in 1116. As early as 1123, though, the monastery had to be revived by their son, Margrave Herman II, with the help of canons from Marbach Abbey in Alsace.
Between 1123 and 1243 the abbey was the burial place of the Zähringen Margraves of Baden, a connection which brought much influence and prosperity.
Backnang's geographical position exposed it, from the 13th century onwards, to attack by the Counts of Württemberg, and for this reason in 1243 Margravine Irmengard transferred the remains of her husband Hermann V of Baden to her foundation of Lichtenthal Abbey in the town of Baden-Baden.
In 1297 possession of Backnang passed to Württemberg. In 1366 Count Eberhard II of Württemberg succeeded in gaining control of the abbey's finances. In 1477 it was changed into a secular collegiate chapter, with the approval of Pope Sixtus IV.
In 1535, as part of the Protestant Reformation, the community was dissolved. The canons of Backnang, however, by making a complaint to Emperor Charles V, obtained permission to reoccupy it, which they did in 1551. The last of them died in 1593, when the house was finally suppressed.
The abbey church still stands in Backnang.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.