The Benedictine priory and erstwhile abbey of Andechs is a place of pilgrimage and famed for its flamboyant Baroque church (1712). The abbey runs a brewery, Klosterbrauerei Andechs.
The site of Andechs was originally occupied by a castle belonging to the counts of Dießen on the Ammersee, probably built on a Roman castrum, and remained the seat of the powerful counts of Dießen-Andechs (1135 to 1180) and dukes of Andechs-Merania (1180 to 1248). In 1132 the count donated his ancestral seat at Dießen to the Holy See and moved to Andechs.
Otto II of Andechs was bishop of Bamberg, 1177 – 1196. In 1208, when Philip of Swabia, King of the Germans, was assassinated at Bamberg by Otto of Wittelsbach, members of the house of Andechs were implicated, and the castle at Andechs was razed before the family was rehabilitated.
When the dukes of Andechs-Merania were extinguished in the direct male line in 1248, the entire region was annexed by the bishop of Bamberg. A history of the house of Andechs was written by Joseph Hormayr, Baron zu Hortenburg, the historian-statesman, and published in 1796.
In 955, relics which Rasso, count of Diessen, had brought from Rome and the Holy Land to his monastery at Wörth (later called Grafrath) had been transferred to this site to preserve them from the ravages of the Hungarians. In the 12th century three consecrated Hosts, two of which are reputed to have been consecrated by Pope Gregory I the other by Pope Leo IX were added to the relics at the heilige Berg (holy mountain). The first documented pilgrimages to Andechs were in 1138, when count Berthold II ordered his subjects to make the journey to venerate the relics in the chapel of St Nicholas at the Schloss. The legendary rediscovery of long-lost reliquaries in 1388 revived the ancient pilgrimage trade. The Andechs hosts were approved by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, otherwise a foe of such cults of wonder hosts.
The late-Gothic collegiate church which Duke Ernest I (1392 – 1438) had erected in 1423 was changed into a Benedictine monastery by Duke Albert III in 1455, and filled with monks from Tegernsee Abbey. In 1458 it was raised to the status of an abbey, and thenceforth enjoyed a period of uninterrupted prosperity, completely remodeled in Baroque style in 1712, and forming part of the Hofmark Erling (Heiliger Berg Andechs) until its secularization in 1803. It was refounded in 1850 as a Benedictine priory, affiliated to the Abbey of St Boniface in Munich. The present church dates from the 18th century. The 20th-century German composer Carl Orff is buried there.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.