St Peter's Abbey in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a former Benedictine monastery. The monastic community was the house monastery and burial place of the Zähringen family. It was originally founded in Weilheim, in or before 1073, but was forced by hostile military action during the Investiture Controversy to move to Hirsau. Duke Berthold II of Zähringen (1078–1111) re-founded it as a family monastery, but decided in about 1090 to move it to the site which is now St. Peter im Schwarzwald.
Here it soon developed as a reformed Benedictine monastery directly answerable to the papacy, as witness for example the privilege of Pope Urban II of 10 March 1095. The Vögte (lords protectors) were initially the Zähringen family but, in the late 13th century, they were succeeded by the Counts of Urach, against whom the monks were eventually obliged to seek the protection of Emperor Charles IV. In 1526 the office passed to the Habsburgs.
By the gift of the Zähringen family and their ministeriales the abbey acquired substantial property, particularly in the 11th and 12th centuries, located in the immediate area, in the Breisgau and in the Baar region, near Weilheim. The abbey, like most other landowners of the time, suffered significant loss of income and tenants after the middle of the 14th century.
The abbey suffered disastrous fires in 1238 and again in 1437. It lost importance in the later mediaeval period, and the monastic reforms of the 15th century had little effect here. Nevertheless, it managed to keep its property intact, even through the troubles of the Reformation. The premises were re-built in Baroque style in the 17th and 18th centuries; the present church with the two onion towers was built in the 1720s. The architect was Peter Thumb, and the opulent Baroque decoration was by Franz Joseph Spiegler (55 frescoes, 1727) and Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer (sculptures), among other artists and craftsmen. Peter Thumb also constructed the library. The abbey was dissolved in the secularisation of 1806.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.