The Cathedral of St Nicholas is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in České Budějovice. The foundation stone of the parish church was laid around 1265, shortly after the founding of the city. The church of St Nicholas was consecrated in 1297, although it was still incomplete at the time. The completion of the main building probably occurred sometime around the mid 14th century. The original Gothic church was damaged by fire and repaired in the years 1513 - 1518. The church was significantly rebuilt several times. During the 16th century the church acquired a new bell tower called the Black Tower. In the 17th century, reconstruction took place and the church acquired its current baroque appearance. The church has a triple nave layout with 18th century interiors. In 1785 the interior was renovated when the church was elevated to a cathedral due to the creation of the Diocese of České Budějovice.
A cemetery was located beside the church and was in use from the Middle Ages up to the year 1784, when the decree of Joseph II forbade further burials. Between 1969 and 1971 internal adjustments were made in the cathedral in order to improve the liturgical space after the changes made during the Second Vatican Council.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.