Katarina kyrka (Church of Catherine) was originally constructed in 1656–1695. It has been rebuilt twice after being destroyed by fires, the second time during the 1990s. The Katarina-Sofia borough is named after theparish and the neighbouring parish of Sofia.
Construction of the church started during the reign of Charles X of Sweden, and the church is named after Princess Catherine, mother of the king, wife of John Casimir, Palsgrave of Pfalz-Zweibrücken and half-sister of Gustavus Adolphus. The original architect was Jean de la Vallée. The construction was severely delayed due to shortage of funds.
In 1723 the church, together with half of the buildings in the parish, was completely destroyed in a major fire. Rebuilding started almost immediately, under supervision of Göran Josua Adelcrantz, the city architect, who designed a larger, octagonal tower.
May 17, 1990, the church burned down again. Almost nothing but the external walls remained. Architect Ove Hidemark was responsible for rebuilding the church, which was reopened in 1995. The new organ was built by J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw in the Netherlands.
Several famous Swedes are buried in the cemetery surrounding the church, most notable the assassinated Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, nationally popular Dutch-Swedish singer Cornelis Vreeswijk and Sten Sture the Elder.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.