Abbey of San Pietro al Monte is an ancient monastic complex of Romanesque style in the town of Civate. The site, presently not occupied by religious, consists of three buildings: the Basilica of San Pietro, the oratory dedicated to St. Benedict, and what was the monastery of which only ruin remain.
According a legend the abbey was founded in 772 AD by Desiderius, the last king of Lombardy. The oldest document dates from the 9th century. The monastery was destroyed in a war between city state of Milan and Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor. The monks returned, but were expelled in 1798.
The buildings were part of the Benedictine abbey complex of Civate, the Basilica of San Calocero and the churches of San Nazario and San Vito. Two stone portals include engravings above them. The frescoes in the basilica of St. Peter, whose theme is the final apotheosis of Christ and the Triumph of the Righteous along the lines of the Apocalypse of St. John, makes it one of the most important Lombard Romanesque testimonies.
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.