Mariawald Abbey is a monastery of the Trappists (formally known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance), located above the village of Heimbach. Following Heinrich Fluitter's vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a shrine and chapel were built on the site of it, which became a place of pilgrimage, the Marienwallfahrt. For the proper care of the site and the pilgrims land was given in 1480 to the Cistercians of Bottenbroich Abbey, who established a priory here, which they were able to move into on 4 April 1486. The new monastery took its name from the shrine to Mary and from the woods in which it was situated: 'Marienwald', or 'Mary's wood'.
In 1795 the monastery was closed as a result of the French Revolution and the monks were expelled. The image of the Virgin was removed to safety in Heimbach. The priory buildings were abandoned and allowed to fall into decay. In 1860 the priory was re-settled by Trappist monks from Oelenberg Abbey in Alsace.
The monks had to leave the monastery yet again under the Nazi regime during World War II, from 1941 until April 1945, when the surviving members of the community were able to return. The monastery had to be largely rebuilt, because it had been seriously damaged in the war. After World War II, a brewery was run at the abbey until 1956 when beer production ceased, in part due to availability of water and brewing ingredients.
The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict and the constitution of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance. Visitors can also stay a few days in the abbey's guesthouse, but the parts of the monastery used by the monastic community cannot be visited. The abbey runs a tavern and bookshop. It also produces and sells its own liqueur.References:
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.