Roggenburg Abbey is widely known for its almost unchanged Baroque building and the organ concerts that are held in the church. For over three centuries, Roggenburg was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia.
In 1126 Count Bertold of Bibereck, together with his wife and his two brothers, Konrad, Bishop of Chur, and Siegfried, a canon in the diocese of Augsburg, founded the monastery. The first Premonstratensian canons came from Ursberg Abbey nearby and built the first monastery church.
In 1444 the foundation was raised to the status of an abbey. The first description of Roggenburg Abbey as reichsunmittelbar dates from 1482/5; the legal consolidation of this status took place in tiny stages over the first half of the 16th century.
In the 18th century the abbey and its dependent churches were rebuilt in the Baroque style, as they are today. The conventual buildings were rebuilt in 1732. Construction of a new church began in 1752, and lasted six years. In 1802 the monastery was occupied by Bavarian troops during the secularisation of Bavaria, dissolved, and the last abbot, Thaddäus Aigler, stripped of his office.
After dissolution in 1802 the abbey church became a parish church. The rest of the abbey's property passed into private ownership, except for the buildings, which were taken over by the Bavarian government. Until 1862 a district court and rent office were accommodated here. Later the buildings were used for a variety of functions, including as a school, a forestry office and a parochial office.
In 1986 Premonstratensians again occupied the premises. On 8 November 1992 the new community was raised to the status of an independent priory of Windberg Abbey. In the interval there had arisen a training centre for family, environment and culture, a museum and a centre for art and culture, as well as gastronomical facilities. In addition, the monastery shop sells devotional items, the monastery's own wine and various other products of their own manufacture.
The Baroque abbey church was built between 1752 and 1758 to plans by Simpert Kraemer in the shape of a cross. The hall church, with extended transept and double towers, is 70 metres long, 35 metres across and has an inside height, to the highest point, of 28 metres. Today it is used as the Roman Catholic parish church of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary.
The great Baroque organ by the Ulm organ builder Georg Friedrich Schmahl of 1761 was completely replaced in 1905 by a Late Romantic construction by the Gebrüder Hindelang of Ebenhofen. This was replaced in its turn in 1955–56, with the reuse of some registers, by an instrument by the Familie Nenninger. In 1984–86 it was extensively rebuilt by Gerhard Schmid of Kaufbeuren. The appearance of the organ by Schmahl was preserved throughout all rebuildings.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.