The Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. The first church on this site was built in the eighth century during the time of Saint Virgil, who may have used it for baptisms. A document from 1139 mentions a parish church on this site. That church was destroyed by fire in 1167, together with five other churches, including the cathedral. Starting in 1208, the central nave of the church was built in the late-Romanesque style, making it among the oldest buildings in Salzburg. It was consecrated in 1221.
Between 1408 and 1450 Master Hans von Burghausen began work on the radiant Gothic choir to replace the Romanesque choir, which Stefan Krumenauer completed. A slender Gothic tower was added between 1468 and 1498. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and served as the parish church until 1635. In 1670, the archbishop ordered the top of the church's tower removed because it was taller than the cathedral tower. The tower was later restored in 1866 in the neo-Gothic style by Joseph Wessiken. In the eighteenth century, the church interior was redesigned in the baroque style. The 'Rosary' of chapels behind the high altar date from the 16th century.
The church choir contains nine chapels decorated in baroque style by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the eighteenth century. The chapel behind the high altar has a winged marble altar that dates from 1561. The High Altar (1709) by Fischer von Erlach is made of red marble and gold. The central Madonna statue on the winged altar dates from the Late Gothic period (1495-1498) and was sculpted by Michael Pacher of Tyrol. The staircase of the pulpit contains a marble lion from the 12th century standing over a man with a painful grimace on his face, pushing his sword into the belly of the lion. The triumphal arch holds frescoes by Conrad Laib.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.