St. Lambrecht's Abbey was founded in 1076 by Count Markward of Eppenstein; it was dissolved from 1786 to 1805. In 1938, the building was seized by the National Socialists. From 1942 to 1945, it was used as an external storage facility of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. The monks returned in 1946.
Locally the two churches within the monastic grounds are called the Grosskirche ('big church') and the Kleinkirche ('little church'). During restoration work of the Grosskirche in the early 1970s extraordinary frescoes dating from the latter half of the 15th century were discovered on the north wall. These show the throne of Solomon.
On the lowest level is depicted the Old Testament Judgment of Solomon, above this the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus, and above all else Jesus Christ: 'the Word of God made Flesh'. Other frescoes dating from the 14th century depict Saint Christopher and Saint Agnes. Formerly in the monastery there was also a votive altarpiece from which the Master of the Saint Lambrecht Votive Altarpiece received his name; this is now in the Alte Galerie in Graz.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.