Guadix is believed to be one of the oldest diocesan seats in Spain; tradition has it that the diocese was founded by Saint Torquatus of Acci in the first century A.D. The cathedral sits on the site of an earlier Hispano-Visigothic church extant in the 10th century, and which functioned during the Islamic period as a mosque.
During the Reconquista, Guadix was captured by the Christian forces in 1489, and the Hispano-Visigothic church was re-established as the seat of a bishopric. It was made a cathedral by a bull of Pope Innocent VIII. Plans were made to replace the old church with a Gothic cathedral as a symbol of the Reconquista, but by the time construction began, that style was already considered antiquated. Diego de Siloé was commissioned in 1549 to develop a design reflecting the influence of the cathedrals of Málaga and Granada. The apse, part of the crossing, the chapel of Don Tadeo and parte part of the sacristy were completed according to Siloé's plan.
In 1574, work stopped for lack of money, and was not resumed until 1594, when Bishop Juan de Fonseca y Guzmán resumed the project.
The work received a new impulse at the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th with economic assistance from the king. Blas Antonio Delgado was placed in charge of the new plans, with changes in the design giving more emphasis to horizontal lines. Delgado laid out the general design of the cathedral, the elevations, the doors and the cupola, but in 1714 had to move to Jaén. Vicente Acero took over, reworking the plan extensively, before also having to move on. The city government approached Francisco de Hurtado Izquierdo; rather than take on the project himself, he recommended Gaspar Cayón de la Vega. The strong imprint of Cayón de la Vega can be seen in the latter stages of construction of the building, in the vaulting, the dome, and in the portada de las Azucenas—the front portion of the building, utilizing a motif of lilies—which Acero had begun.
When Cayón de la Vega left for Cádiz in 1731, the façade was under construction according to his plans, but others such as Vicente Acero, Pachote, and Thomas added pieces that were not in Cayón's plan.
The chapel of Don Tadeo shows strong Italian structural influences in its solution to the problem of vaulting arches within a cylindrical structure. Another notable element is the front of the sacristy, with its Renaissance pediment, its entablature, and the arch between Corinthian columns with the coats of arms of the bishops of the city.
The façade is a splendid example of the Baroque architecture, with two massed bodies and a pinnacle, with alternating concave and convex lines; the large central span, flanked by two lintels composed of groups of broad-based columns. The upper part was realized by Fernández Pachote and Domingo Thomas; Antonio Valeriano Moyano sculpted the marble Incarnation.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.