Břevnov Monastery is a Benedictine archabbey founded by Saint Adalbert, the second Bishop of Prague, in 993 AD with the support of Duke Boleslav II of Bohemia. Hence the first Benedictine male monastery in Bohemia, it also has the oldest tradition of beer brewing in the Czech Republic, up to today, the Břevnovský Benedict beer is brewed here.
The first monks descended form Niederaltaich Abbey in Bavaria, filial monasteries were established at Broumov and Police in northern Bohemia.
During the Hussite Wars in the 1420s, abbot and convent fled to Broumov and the entire monastery including brewery were nearly destroyed. After the Thirty Years' War, the construction of a Baroque monastery complex has been realized under Abbot Othmar Daniel Zinke in 1708–1740 according to plans designed by Christoph Dientzenhofer. The interior of the buildings, including St Margaret's church, the conventual buildings and prelate's house was designed by his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, with altarpieces by Petr Brandl, a ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian Asam and stucco works by his brother Egid Quirin Asam. At the same time the annual production of beer reached up to 5,000 hl.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the monastery was seized by Wehrmacht forces during World War II and finally expropriated by the Communist Czechoslovak government in 1950. Abbot Anastáz Opasek (1913-1999) was condemned for high treason and espionage in a show trial, the monastery was dissolved and the remaining monks were deported, if they had not fled to Bavarian Braunau in Rohr Abbey re-established by their Broumov brothers in 1946.
The complex was used until 1990 by the StB, after the Velvet Revolution, was thoroughly repaired from 1991 until its 1000-years-jubilee in 1993. In 1997 it was visited by Pope John Paul II and was elevated to the rank of an Archabbey.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.