St. Peter's is a Romanesque church in Syburg, now a suburb of Dortmund. Standing on a rocky outcrop above the confluence of the Ruhr and the Lenne, the sandstone church is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the area.
The church is surrounded by a graveyard, which contains the oldest gravestones in Westphalia; three stones date back to between 750 and 850, one of which is in the church.
In his desire for Christianization, Charlemagne conquered the strategic area in 775. The original church, described as a basilica, is documented in the Annals of Lorsch as early as 776, making it the oldest in Dortmund and probably in Westphalia. Remnants of the simple rectangular wooden building are now under examination. The neighbouring castle of Hohensyburg, taken the same year by the Saxons, was liberated by Pope Leo III in 799.
The present-day building was built around 1100 with a flat ceiling and was a Wehrkirche (Fortified church). The tower, still standing today, was built in the 13th century. The church was an important medieval pilgrimage site. The church was damaged by fire in 1673 during the Franco-Dutch War leading to the destruction of the Romanesque apse. Replacing the apse, the chancel was built in 1688 with pointed windows in the Gothic style.
In the spring on 1945, at the end of World War II, the church was badly damaged by a bomb which completely destroyed the nave. It was rebuilt, together with section of the chancel, from 1953 to 1954. During excavations in 1950-51, 1976-77 and 1983, foundations of a Romanesque apse and a square building from the time of Charlemagne were found.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.