The Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church) is the main church of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. Structures of a small Romanesque church from the 10th and 11th centuries could recently be traced as having been exactly in today's church outline.
In 1240, a stately three-naved church with two towers was built in the Romanic style, apparently by the Counts of Württemberg who from around that time were residing in the nearby Old Castle. From the end of the 13th century a double tomb is preserved in today's South tower chapel. It contains the remains of Ulrich I, Count of Württemberg and his second wife, Countess of Württemberg, Agnes von Schlesien-Liegnitz (both died in 1265).
With Stuttgart the new residence of the rulers of Württemberg, a new Gothic chancel was built from 1321 to 1347. To it was added a Late Gothic nave in the second half of the 15th century by Ulrich V. In 1500, a coloured, later (from the 19th century) golden pulpit was added.
With the adoption of the Lutheran Protestant Reformation in Württemberg in 1534, all pictures and altars were removed from the naves, pewage and a gallery were added. The tombstones were moved to the interior of the church. From 1574, small statues of all the Counts of Württemberg (i.e. since Ulrich I) were added at the North wall of the chancel.
In 1608, a new grave crypt or burial vault was added. All of the Württemberg rulers until 1677 were buried there. Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, Queen of Württemberg from 1816 until 1819, was buried here from 1819 to 1824, before her remains were brought to a mausoleum on the Württemberg mountain.
In 1826, the roof of the chancel was renovated, as was most of the interior of the church in the 1840s.Towards the end of the Second World War, the church was heavily destroyed by the bombing raids on Stuttgart in 1944. In the 1950s, the church was restored, however, not in all historical detail.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.