Gembloux Abbey was a Benedictine abbey founded about 945 by Saint Guibert or Wibert and dedicated to Saint Peter and the martyr Saint Exuperius. In 954 the Hungarians threatened to pillage the monastery. Guibert not only saved it from harm but also converted some Hungarians to Christianity. On 23 May 962, Guibert died at Gorze and his remains were brought for burial to Gembloux.
Olbert (1012-1048) built a new abbey church in 1022, organized a rich library, and by encouraging sacred and secular learning gave the first impulse to the subsequent flourishing condition of Gembloux. During the period of its greatest intellectual activity the abbey was ruled by Mysach (1048-1071), Thietmar (1071-1092), Liethard (1092-1115) and Anselm (1115-1136).
Under Thietmar flourished the famous chronicler Sigebert of Gembloux (1030-1112), who in a neat Latin style wrote a chronicle of the world from 381-1111, a history of the abbots of Gembloux and other historical works of great value. His chronicle was continued by Abbot Anselm till 1136, and his history of the abbots of Gembloux by the monk Gottschalk, a disciple of Sigebert. The learned prior Guerin, a famous teacher at the abbey school, was a contemporary of Sigebert.
In 1157 and again in 1185 the monastery was destroyed by fire, and though rebuilt, it began from this period to decline in importance. In 1505, under Abbot Arnold II de Solbrecg (1501-1511), it became affiliated to the Bursfeld Union.
The abbey was pillaged by the Calvinists in 1598, and was partly destroyed by fire in 1678 and again in 1712. It was just beginning to recover from these heavy misfortunes when in 1793 the Revolutionary government suppressed it.
The buildings, which largely survived, are used for the Agronomical University of Gembloux.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.