Engelberg Abbey is a Franciscan monastery located on the hill above the town of Grossheubach. The hill spur on which the abbey is situated was likely used in prehistoric times as a cult site. Around 1300, a chapel dedicated to St. Michael was built there and a statue of Mary erected. The likely location of this chapel was where the choir of today"s church stands. The first documented pilgrimage occurred in 1406. In 1469, a brotherhood was established in connection with the Engelberg pilgrimage.
In 1630, Anselm Kasimir von Wambold, Archbishop of Mainz, asked Capuchins from the Rhenish Province to come here. The abbey was finished by 1639. At the same time the church was enlarged and largely achieved its current, Baroque, form. After 1647, the monastery had the status of Konvent. In 1697, the Antonius chapel was added. In 1701, a Gnadenbild der Freudenreichen Muttergottes from the mid-14th century, was erected in the right side-chapel.
When the German ecclesial states were securalized in the early 19th century in what is known as the German mediatization, Engelberg was initially not much affected. The acceptance of novices was forbidden, though, setting it up for eventual extinction. In 1817, the Gymnasium (school) was dissolved. However, in 1828, King Ludwig I of Bavaria ordered the monks to move to Aschaffenburg. The monastery was refounded, but Franciscans of the Bavarian Order Province took over in taking care of pilgrims.
A burial chapel for the Catholic branch of House Löwenstein was built next to the church. In 1899, the church was enlarged towards the west. A terrace was added as well as the room which today serves as a confessional chapel.
The pilgrimage continues today . Well into the post-WWII period, some pilgrims climbed the steps to the abbey on their knees while praying. The pilgrimage way through the vineyards from Grossheubach features 14 Baroque chapels and 14 Stations of the Cross from 1866.
The current set of mostly Baroque monastic buildings are quite simple architecturally, reflecting their origins during the Thirty Years" War. Back then, measured by its message, the most important work of art was the larger-than-life statue of St. Michael set above the church portal, created by Zacharias Juncker the Older around 1635. It references a much more significant statue of the saint created by Hubert Gerhard for the Michaelskirche at Munich. The statue at Engelberg was erected after the Protestant Swedish had been beaten and driven out of Franconia, turning the monastery into a monument to the resurrected power of the Catholic faith.
The church and some other areas of the monastery are open to visitors. The order runs a restaurant and shop in the buildings.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.