Heilsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery at Heilsbronn founded in 1132–33 by Saint Otto of Bamberg. It was settled by monks from Ebrach Abbey, under the first abbot Rapotho. It was one of the wealthiest monasteries of Germany, with possessions around Franconia as far as Regensburg and in Württemberg. These rich endowments were mostly made by the dukes of Abenberg and their heirs, the Hohenzollern Burgraves of Nuremberg. It was the hereditary burial-place of the Hohenzollern family and ten burgraves of Nuremberg, five margraves and three electors of Brandenburg, besides many other persons of note, were buried here.
Heilsbronn was a flourishing monastery until the time of the Reformation. In 1530 Abbot John Schopper (1529–1540) founded a monastic school here, which later became a Protestant school for princes, and the doctrines of Luther gradually found favour in the monastery. His successor, Sebastian Wagner, openly supported Protestantism. He married and resigned in 1543. In 1549 Roman Catholicism was restored at Heilsbronn, but only ostensibly, and the abbey seems to have ceased to be a Catholic house in 1555, although it existed for some years longer. The last abbot who made any pretense to Catholic belief was Melchior Wunderer (1562–1578). The five succeeding abbots were Protestants, and in 1631 Heilsbronn ceased to be an abbey. Its valuable library was transferred to Erlangen.
The buildings of the monastery have mostly disappeared, with the exception of the fine church, known as Münster Heilsbronn, a Romanesque basilica, restored between 1851 and 1866, and possessing paintings by Albrecht Dürer.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.