Prüfening Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on the outskirts of Regensburg. Since the beginning of the 19th century it has also been known as Prüfening Castle (Schloss Prüfening). Notably, its extant dedicatory inscription, commemorating the founding of the abbey in 1119, was created by printing and is a unique document of medieval typography.
The monastery is situated on the western edge of the town of Regensburg and was founded in 1119 by Bishop Otto I of Bamberg as a Benedictine abbey. The abbey church, dedicated to Saint George, completed in 1125, is the first major church building of the so-called 'School of Hirsau' in Bavaria. It is a Romanesque basilica with a transept. The Romanesque wall-paintings are well-preserved.
The first abbot, Erminold, is supposed to have been killed by the monks because of his strictness. The tomb built in his honour by Bishop Heinrich II of Regensburg in 1283 was the work of one of the most important Regensburg cathedral master-builders. His name has not survived, but on the basis of this work he is known in art history as the 'Erminold Master'.
The abbey was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The buildings were sold, and since 1899 have been in the possession of the Princes of Thurn und Taxis. Prince Max Emanuel of Thurn and Taxis (1902–1994), known as 'Father Emmeram' (German: Pater Emmeram), made efforts to re-establish a monastery in the buildings, which however came to nothing. Since 2002 a Montessori school has used the premises. The former abbey church serves as an auxiliary church for the Roman Catholic parish of St. Boniface.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.