San Vincenzo in Prato is the only church in Milan which has entirely maintained its original Palaeo-Christian appearance. The first church was founded by the Lombard king Desiderius in 770, who dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. Later it was entitled to St. Vincent, when the latter's relics were found in an urn in the crypt, together with those of St. Quirinus and St. Nicomedes (859) and St. Abundius. The name in Prato derives from its location in the 'pratum' (in the field) area owned by bishop Odelpertus.
In 806 a Benedictine convent was added to the church; in the late years of the same century and in the early 10th century the church, in dismaying conditions, was rebuilt, but with similar appearance. The octagonal baptistery on the exterior, on the left, was built by architect Paolo Mezzanotte in year 1932, and includes a column-shaped font called Pietra santa (the Saint Stone) coming from the ancient church of S. Nazaro in Pietra Santa, which was demolished in year 1889 during the construction of the new Via Dante. The convent was suppressed in 1520 and in 1598 the church was restored and turned into a parish.
The basilica measures c. 40 x 20 m, and is in brickwork. The interior is on a nave and two aisles with wooden spans ceiling. The columns are from different ages. The elevated choir ends with a large apse. Under the presbytery is the crypt, which has also a nave and two aisles divided by ten small columns with sculpted capitals.
San Vincenzo lies on the founding of a Roman temple or oratory built along the way to Vigevano probably dedicated to Juppiter, which was located within a Roman necropolis (of which some remains are visible in the external left walls of the church).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.