Wettingen Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1227 and dissolved during the secularisation of 1841, but re-founded at Mehrerau in Austria in 1854.
Count Heinrich II of Rapperswil bought lands in Wettingen sometime after 1220, and gave it the name Wettingen, believed to be named after his wife's family von Wetterau. He had married in 1220 to Mechtidis von Wetter, her brother was Count Lutold I von Wetter. And as well as the advowson of the village church. After being miraculously saved from shipwreck during the crusades, he gave his possessions in Wettingen to Salem Abbey, a Cistercian house in the north of the region around the Bodensee. The piece of land for the construction of the new buildings was given by the nunnery at Schänis. Eberhard of Rohrdorf, abbot of Salem, dispatched the twelve monks necessary for a new foundation and some lay-brothers under Konrad, the abbot-designate, previously Eberhard's deputy.
On 14 October 1227 the monks began building the monastery. In memory of their generous founder they also adopted the motto Non mergor (Latin for 'I do not sink'). From the beginning the abbey was able to add to its possessions: in Uri, in Zürich, in Riehen and above all in the valley of the Limmat in the area round Wettingen. In the Limmat valley the abbey possessed the authority of the low justice.
In the early 16th century however the abbey was greatly weakened by financial difficulties. On 11 April 1507 a fire destroyed parts of the monastery. The Infant Jesus of Wettingen, a painting on wood, miraculously escaped the devastating fire. In 1529 most of the monks converted to the reformed faith. After the Second War of Kappel of 1531 the Roman Catholic towns brought about the re-catholicisation of the monastery and until 1564 nominated the abbots themselves.
Under Abbot Peter Schmid (1594 to 1633) the abbey enjoyed a revival. The buildings were restored and extended. In 1604 a school of philosophy and theology was opened, and in 1671 a printing-press. During the Toggenburg Warof 1712 the monks were obliged to flee to central Switzerland for a period. In the turmoil after the French Revolution the abbey afforded shelter to thousands of political and religious refugees from France.
In 1803 the abbey came into the possession of the newly established Canton of Aargau, which initially gave assurances of its continuance, provided it maintained a school. From 1830 however the government of the canton made ever greater financial demands, until in 1834 it took over the administration of the abbey's assets, imposed a ban on the acceptance of novices and closed down the abbey school. On 13 January 1841 the cantonal parliament of Aargau decreed the dissolution of all monasteries in the Canton, which led to the troubles known as the Aargau Monastic Conflict.
Shortly afterwards the monks — among them Alberich Zwyssig, composer of the Swiss national anthem, the Swiss Psalm — were forced to leave the abbey. The extensive abbey library was taken over by the Aargau Canton Library. After some years of wandering the monks settled, on 8 June 1854, in the secularised monastery at Mehrerau in Bregenz in Austria, since known as Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey.
The empty buildings at Wettingen were placed at the disposal of the teachers' training college. Since 1976 they have been used by the Wettingen Canton School. Roman Catholic services are held every week in the former abbey church, and weddings are also celebrated there.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.