St. Georgenberg-Fiecht Abbey is a Benedictine monastery situated since 1708 in Fiecht in the community of Vomp. A pilgrimage church still stands on the original site on the Georgenberg. Founded in 1138, it is the oldest extant monastery in the Tyrol.
According to tradition, the site's first use was as a hermitage in about the middle of the 10th century by Blessed Rathold of Aibling, of the ancient noble family of the Rapotonen, who established his cell on the Georgenberg, a rocky outcrop rising some hundred metres above the Stallental valley near Stans.
Substantial donations to the community as early as 1000 or thereabouts from Albuin, Bishop of Brixen, and in 1097 from Emperor Henry IV suggest that by that time there was already a well-established monastery here rather than a simple hermitage.
The religious community at St. Georgenberg was turned into a Benedictine abbey in 1138 by Reginbert, Bishop of Brixen; the papal charter of confirmation is dated 30 April 1138.
On 31 October 1705 there occurred the fourth in a series of disastrous fires which ruined all the buildings, and the abbey was moved to a new site at Fiecht in the Inn valley. It became operative again in 1708.
Because of lack of funds, however, the new conventual buildings and church (begun in 1741 and finished in 1750; its tower was finished as late as 1781) were uniquely modest in their construction, but for that very reason are the more impressive as examples of Baroque architecture. Only the inside of the church and the trompe l'oeil façade, only visible from the monastic buildings, were finished in the typical style of the era: stuccoists of the Wessobrunn School, such as Franz Xaver Feuchtmayer the Elder and his brother Michael, the frescoist Matthäus Günther and other renowned sculptors from the Tyrol and elsewhere were engaged for these parts of the construction.
After the Treaty of Pressburg in 1806 the Tyrol was passed from Austria to Bavaria, and Fiecht Abbey was suppressed by the Bavarian government in 1807, but was restored in 1816, when the Tyrol again became part of Austria. It suffered from another serious fire in 1868 which ruined most of the collection of graphic art, but spared most of the library.
Pilgrimages here began around 1100 and increased after the 'blood miracle' that is reported to have happened in about 1310. The main objects of veneration are Saint George, a Gothic Pietà sculpture from about 1415 and the reliquary of the Holy Blood. The present Baroque church, dedicated to Saints George and James, was built after the 1705 fire on the site and to the approximate ground plan of the old church. The new building was finished in 1735, with further alterations in 1863 (frescoes) and 1866.
The Lindenkirche, a small church dedicated to Saint Mary, existed as a stone building from about 1230 and housed the Pietà until it was transferred to the larger rebuilt church of Saints George and James in 1736. Major changes to the building were made in 1759 and 1882, but its Romanesque porch is still intact.
As otherwise there would be no access to the monastery except by strenuous climbing, a bridge was constructed by the 15th century, which had to be restored by 1709, after the great fire. Its name is the Hohe Brücke ('high bridge'). When walking up from Stans, however, many pilgrims still take the route that leads through the romantic Wolfsklamm gorge.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.