Eskilstuna's history dates back to medieval times when English monk Saint Eskil made "Tuna" his base and diocese of the South coast of Lake Mälaren. Saint Eskil was stoned to death by the pagan vikings of neighbouring town Strängnäs, trying to convert them to Christianity. Saint Eskil was buried in his monastery church in Tuna. Later the pagan city of Strängnäs was Christianised and was given the privilege of becoming diocese of South Lake Mälaren.
Later "Eskil" was added in to the word "Tuna". However, the town of Eskilstuna did not receive municipal privileges due to its proximity to the medieval city of Torshälla. The monastery of Saint Eskil was completely destroyed by Swedish king Gustav Vasa during the Protestant Reformation.
The present Kloster Kyrka, a monastery church, was built according to plans by architect Otar Hökerberg . It was opened May 29, 1929. Above the main entrance is a sculpture depicting Saint Eskil. The entrance door to the church is surrounded by paintings of the apostles Paul and Peter. The old altar is high and wide staircases of stone leading up from the nave. The altarpiece from the 1600s is the work of the Flemish master Martin de Vos and represents the shepherds' adoration.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.