The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic church in the Maltese capital Valletta and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the entire city of Valletta.
The first church was dedicated to the Annunciation. It was built around 1570 on the designs of Girolamo Cassar. In the 17th century it was given to the Carmelites and thus received its present patronage to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The façade was redesigned in 1852 by Giuseppe Bonavia. On May 14, 1895 by Pope Leo XIII elevated the church to the rank of Minor Basilica. The church was seriously damaged during the Second World War and it had to be rebuilt.
The new church was built from 1958 to 1981. It was consecrated in 1981. The 42 meter high oval dome dominates both the city skyline and Marsamxett Harbour. It is higher than the steeple of the immediately adjacent Anglican Cathedral in Valletta. The main attraction in the interior is a painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel dating from the early 17th century. The interior has been sculpted by the sculptor Joseph Damato over 19 years. Striking are the columns of red marble.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.