Amalfi Cathedral is a 9th-century Roman Catholic cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo, Amalfi. It is dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew whose relics are kept here. The newer cathedral was built next to the older basilica that was built on the ruins of a previous temple. The remains of St. Andrew were reportedly brought to Amalfi from Constantinople in 1206 during the Fourth Crusade by Cardinal Peter of Capua. In 1208, the crypt was completed and the relics were turned over to the church. It said that later on manna issued from the saint's bones.
Predominantly of Arab-Norman Romanesque architectural style, the cathedral has been remodeled several times, adding Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque elements. The cathedral includes the adjoining 9th-century Basilica of the Crucifix. Leading from the basilica are steps into the Crypt of St. Andrew.
The front facade was rebuilt in 1891 after the original one collapsed. It is of striped marble and stone with open arches that have lace detailing not commonly found in Italian sacred architecture while the tiled cupola is quite common amongst churches of the area.
Cast in Constantinople before 1066, and signed by Simeon of Syria, the cathedral's bronze doors are the earliest in Italy of post-Roman manufacture. Begun in 1180, and completed over 100 years later, the Romanesque style bell tower is off-center. The structure includes four small towers of Arab architectural type that are adorned with arches and are covered with majolica tiles. During times of war, the bell tower was purposed for defense. The garden contains colonnades, arches, and sculptures.
A wooden 13th century Crucifix hangs in the liturgical area. Another crucifix, made of mother-of-pearl, was brought from the Holy Land and is located to the right of the back door.
The High Altar in the central nave is formed from the sarcophagus of the Archbishop Pietro Capuano (died 1214). Above the altar is a painting by Andrea dell'Asta of The Martyrdom of St. Andrew. The boxed ceiling dates to 1702 and its artwork includes the Flagellation, the Crucifixion of the Apostle, and the Dell'Asta's 1710 Miracle of the Manna. The triumphal arch is held up by two Egyptian granite columns. There are two additional twisted columns and two pulpits that were part of the 12th century ambo. One of the pillars boasts a hidden column as an example of the ancient Romanesque structure.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.