The medieval church of Solna is a so-called round church. The oldest part of the church, the roundhouse, originates from the late 12th century, and was especially built for defense purposes. Attached to this round center is a weaponhouse (south), a rectangular choir to the east, and a rectangular nave to the west. North of the choir is the sacristy, and to the east an octagonal grave choir. There is a second grave choir on the south side of the nave. The roundhouse (central tower) is covered by a tall cupola, which dominates the appearance of the church. The choir was added in the 13th century. The oldest part of the nave is from the 14th century, and was extended during the 15th century, when the weaponhouse and sacristy were built.
The church achieved large parts of its interior under the patronage of Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie. In 1674 the western portal was added, a sculptured portal originally constructed for Karlbergs slott in 1637, and moved to Solna church in 1674. In 1708 Queen Ulrika Eleonora commissioned a grave choir dedicated to count Tomas Polus. The roof was destroyed in a fire in 1723, and the current cupola was built after this incident. The Lange grave choir was constructed in the 1780s. In 1883 the church was given a roof of copper plates. A major restoration took place in 1928 under supervision of architect Erik Fant, when the church's medieval paintings were recovered. The medieval murals from ca. 1440 are attributed to Albertus Pictor.
The choir is dominated by the altar centre-piece, sculpted in wood in 1666 by Hans Jerling. The centre-piece frames two oil paintings with biblical motifs, and is crowned by a wood-sculptured Madonna from the late 16th century, while the altar is made of brick and covered by a limestone plate.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.