San Nicolás church dates back to medieval times, although it has been much altered over the centuries. It is named in the Law of Madrid of 1202 as one of the oldest parishes in the city. Today it is the oldest church in Madrid, after the demolition of the Church of Santa Maria de la Almudena. Archaeological remains suggest that the church and its bell-tower may have been part of a former mosque. It was likely constructed during the 12th century. The nave and chapels were renovated in the 17th century.
By the 19th century, this church was poor in resources and parishioners. The parish was joined to that of El Salvador in 1805. For a time, the building was abandoned till the church was ceded in 1825 to the Third Order of Servites. When the nearby church of El Salvador was destroyed in 1842, this church gained its former status as a parish church.
In the year 1891 the parish was relocated to a church that had been Anton Martin Hospital in Atocha street, today the Parish of San Nicolas and San Salvador, leaving the old building as the church of 'St. Nicholas of the Servites', a name derived from the Servite Order, which still owns it.
At the end of century profile interventions have been implemented, the main one being held in 1983. In some of these interventions was the replacement of the stone, he must be very poor, in the apse, where they appreciate different finishes to the original stone.
The most interesting feature of this temple is undoubtedly its tower, dating from the 12th century except the Herrerian style spire tops, made of slate for the 18th century. It has a square and is constructed of brick decorated with blind arches. The brick has dimensions of 30 x 15 cm in the lower parts, but it was the brick bell tower area are smaller and of a different hue. This tower possibly corresponds to one of the Arab minarets preserved in the city. The tower was transformed in the 14th century, when it changed the cover, which was subsequently replaced by the spire.
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.