A monastic cell existed in Dorfbeuern as early as 736 or thereabouts, referred to in the Aachen Monastery Register in 817. After the Hungarian wars, reconstruction began in 977 with an endowment from Emperor Otto II. More times of crisis came upon the abbey with the fire of 1346, mismanagement of the prebendal income and the effects of the Reformation.
From the 17th century however Michaelbeuern began a long period of prosperity, which led to ambitious building works, for example the Baroque high altar of 1691 in the abbey church, by Meinrad Guggenbichler and Johann Michael Rottmayr. At this time more than twenty-five monks of Michaelbeuern gained their doctorates at the Benedictine University of Salzburg. The community also took on many pastoral responsibilities in the surrounding parishes. During the National Socialist period the monks were expelled, but returned after World War II. The abbey church, re-romanised, was re-dedicated in 1950.
The abbey today is a thriving Benedictine community, well known as an educational and cultural centre. The abbey runs a school and owns different business like a farm, a district heating plant, a biogas plant and a participation in a brewery (Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln).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.