Rioseco is a former Cistercian abbey situated in the Valle de Manzanedo, near the River Ebro. In 1148 the Cistercian Valbuena Abbey, of the filiation of Morimond, founded a daughter house in a small former hermitage in Quintanajuar, in the Páramo de Masa. In 1171 this new community received as a gift from the heirs of the nobleman Martino Martini de Uizozes the ancient monastery of Rioseco, the previous history of which is unrecorded. After a temporary relocation in the late 12th century to San Cipriano de Montes de Oca (La Rioja), the Cistercians moved to the Valle de Manzanedo at the beginning of the 13th century, and probably in 1204, to occupy the old monastery of Rioseco.
The site of the old monastery can still be seen by the ruins of the old conventual church. It seems that after a serious flood the new community had definitely established itself by 1236 at the latest on a new site a little to the north, on higher ground. After the move the former conventual church was put to use as the parish church of Nuestra Señora de Parrales.
By the 14th century Rioseco had become one of the most powerful economies among the Castilian Cistercians. From the middle of the 15th century however, in common in fact with most other monasteries, it experienced years of penury and crisis, before once again entering upon a period of further growth and prosperity in the 17th century.
During the Peninsular War, from 1808 to 1809 the French troops stationed in Medina de Pomar appropriated a large part of the monastery's stores and from 1809 until 29 June 1814 the monks were dispossessed. Nor after their return did they stay very long, for on 29 October 1820, during the Trienio Liberal, the commissars of the revolutionary government took possession of the monastery. At a public auction held in Villarcayo, most of the community's goods were sold. The monastery itself however found no buyer, and thereafter stood abandoned. The local populace continued to make some use of the premises as store-houses, parish church and cemetery.
In the 1850s the surviving buildings, especially the extremely well preserved church, still magnificently equipped and furnished, were deliberately and systematically stripped by the Arquiaga family of everything of any value that survived, and reduced to ruins.
The monastery is in the Herreriano style. An impressive spiral staircase is still preserved, the stone walls of the church still stand, and the bóvedas retain some traces of polychromy.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.