The Church of St.Peter and Paul is one of the best preserved churches in Italy. It was built in the 12th century by Julius of Novara, who was allied with the Romanic army. They decided that they wanted to replace an already existing church with a much bigger one, on the same location. The St. Peter and St. Paul Church was built under the Roman influence and is characterized by a strong Romanesque style. The church features various artworks, including paintings and frescos dedicated to Queen Mary, St.Peter and St.Paul, the patrons of the town.
The Church is located on or near the site of an earlier Roman Temple, dedicated to Minerva, built to celebrate a victory against the Celts, who occupied the cities of Milano and Como.
St.Paul and Peter Church is associated with the myth of St.Jiulius, the founder of the church. The myth tells that Jiulius came with his brother from Greece to evangelize the area close to Orta Lake, and decided to destroy the Temple of Minerva and build the Brebbia Church. The Church has undergone various renovations, including the change of the central nave in the 17th century, which now includes more complex trusses, and the restyling of the artworks.
St. Peter and Paul Church has a typical Romanesque architecture: it is elementary and characterized by three naves and one apse, located at the end of the main nave and orientated to the east. There is a transept that comes out from the secondary naves.
The main nave was originally characterized by a truss, substitued in the 17th century by a vault. This renovation work destabilized the building and because of that it required further structural modifications, which include the addition of tie-rods and metal slabs. These additions still remain visible on the church exterior.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.