Neuburg Abbey was founded in 1130 by Anshelm, a monk from the Benedictine Lorsch Abbey, as a priory of Lorsch. It did not thrive, and in 1195 was turned into a nunnery by order of Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Count Palatine of the Rhine, and raised to the status of abbey, but its condition did not improve as had been hoped. When Lorsch Abbey was suppressed in 1232 Neuburg passed under the authority first of the Bishop of Mainz and then of the Bishop of Worms, a strong advoate of the Cistercian reforms, and with the assistance of the nearby Schönau Abbey, a Cistercian monastery, Neuburg became a Cistercian nunnery. This at last boosted its fortunes, both spiritually and financially, resulting in a period of lively building activity during the 14th century. But another decline set in, and in 1462 at the instigation of Frederick I, Elector Palatine, the community reverted to the Benedictine observance.
During the Reformation, in 1562, the nunnery was suppressed. The premises then became the property of the Electors Palatine, and were put to a variety of purposes, including in the 1660s and 1670s a Frauenstift, or a collegiate establishment for the accommodation of unmarried daughters of the nobility. The Stift lasted only a few years, but had an enduring influence on the name of the place, which from this point on has generally been known as Stift Neuburg.
In 1706 Johann Wilhelm II, Elector Palatine gave the premises to the Jesuits of Heidelberg, who constructed the buildings now to be seen on the site. After the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, the former abbey reverted to the possession of the Elector and in 1799 was mortgaged in favour of Heidelberg University, passing into private hands in 1804. In 1825 it became the property of Johann Friedrich Heinrich Schlosser, a nephew by marriage of Goethe, and after his death to his wife's relatives, the von Bernus family.
In 1926 Neuburg was reacquired for the Benedictines from the poet and mystic Alexander von Bernus, and resettled by Beuron Archabbey. It was elevated to the status of an abbey in 1928. The problems of the new foundation were great, and the first abbot, Adalbert von Neipperg, elected in 1929, resigned in 1934, after which the abbey was directed by an administrative board. The dissolution of the abbey during World War II was prevented by its being used as a refuge for the inmates of a bombed-out old people's home from the Ruhrgebiet.
Serious development of the community began in 1948, under the newly elected second abbot, Dr. Albert Ohlmeyer. In 1960 the restored and extended church was dedicated. After Dr. Ohlmeyer's death in 1976 the community elected Dom Maurus Berve, and after his early decease in 1986, the present abbot, Dom Franziskus Heereman from the Trappist Mariawald Abbey in the Eifel.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.