Residing over Plaza del Mercado Grande, San Pedro projection is similar to that of the Basilica of San Vicente. The monarchs swore their respect for the charters of Castile in the atrium of the church, which underlines its importance during the period in which the town achieved its greatest relevance in the world of politics.
San Pedro has a Latin-cross layout with a central nave that is larger than the side naves. Its construction began in the second quarter of the 12th century and was completed in the 13th century after a period in which the work was stopped. The architecture and decoration shows an evolution of particular interest as a result of the delays in the construction work.
It has a triple upper end with an apse on each nave and a magnificent collection of sculptures showing plant, animal and geometric motifs and scenes from the Bible. The ceilings were covered with barrel and groined vaults in the 13th century. Over time, the arches became forerunners to those used in the Gothic period. Finally, a tower was built on the place where the central nave intersects with the transept.
The main front has two bodies: the upper body is dominated by a large rose window and the lower body has a porch in which the size of the entrance is magnified by six plain archivolts. The southern porch is similar but smaller in size. The northern entrance is more ornamental and moulded with five archivolts, two of which are decorated with typical Ávila-style rosettes.The interior stands out thanks to the panels distributed around the walls of the nave, the Renaissance-style altars and the altarpiece in the main chapel, together with its grilles.It was designated a National Monument in 1914.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.