Petershausen Abbey was founded as an exempt abbey named after Saint Peter in 983 by Bishop Gebhard of Constance, located on the northern shore of the Rhine river opposite to the episcopal residence at Constance with its cathedral. Gebhard dedicated the monastery church to Pope Gregory the Great and settled the abbey with monks descending from Einsiedeln.
Under Bishop Gebhard III of Zähringen and Abbot Theodoric (1086–1116), the Hirsau Reforms were introduced. In 1097 a filial monastery was established at Mehrerau near Bregenz. As Petershausen sided with the papacy in the Investiture Controversy, Gebhard III in 1103 was deposed at the instigation of Emperor Henry IV. The abbey was closed until 1106, the monks fled to the newly established Kastl Abbey in Bavaria. In 1159 the monastery burnt down, and was rebuilt and extended between 1162 and 1180. Facing the claims of Swabian nobles like the Counts of Montfort, the abbots became supporters of the Imperial Hohenstaufen dynasty. Under Emperor Frederick II (1220–50), Petershausen became reichsfrei, gaining territorial independence.
During the Council of Constance (1414–18), the German king Sigismund of Luxembourg stayed at the abbey and the Petershausen abbot even gained the pontifical vestments from Antipope John XXIII. Nevertheless the monastery declined during the 14th and 15th centuries, pressed hard by Konstanz claiming the status of an Imperial city, as well as by the diocese. The attempts of Prince-Bishop Hugo von Hohenlandenberg to incorporate Petershausen were blocked by Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg. The abbey was charged by the Konstanz citizens during the Protestant Reformation and the brothers were expelled. It was again ravaged by Imperial troops during the Schmalkaldic War, after which the City of Konstanz in 1548 was incorporated into the Habsburg possessions of Further Austria. The monks did not return until 1556.
Petershausen was finally secularised to Baden in 1802; the library was bought by the University Library Heidelberg. Margrave Charles Frederick of Baden had parts of the abbey rebuilt as a private residence for his sons. The St Gregory Church was demolished in 1832. The remaining premises were later used as a psychiatric hospital and as barracks. They now accommodate a number of administrative and educational functions and the Archaeological Museum of Baden-Württemberg.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.