The Begijnhof (Béguinage) Museum in Breda is a walled complex that consists of houses and a small church and can be found in the center of Breda. 29 houses spreading over two courtyards are grouped around an herb garden and referred to as the Begijnhof. The Breda’s Begijnhof Museum provides insight into the world of Breda’s beguines. It includes a permanent exhibition of relics from the collection of Hamers IJsebrand and Harrie Hammers.
The first beguines were founded by Mr Hendrick van Breda, lord of shots and Breda, in 1267. That castle was moved to its current location in Catherine’s street in 1535 due to its expansion. In the 19th century, the court was expanded with a second courtyard and the St Catherine church.The beguines were since the 12th century a movement of pious Catholic women who wanted to live a life of contemplation, and prayer in chastity. The Beguines were mostly of noble descent. The first Beguinage foundation was laid bare in the 90’s of the 20th century and studied. The majority of houses were replaced in the 17th century. Breda’s Begijnhof Museum is the oldest of the two beguine found in the Netherlands.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.