Iglesia Mayor de San Pedro y San Pablo is located in the center of San Fernando, opposite the Church Square. Construction of the church began in 1756, replacing the small parish church of Santa María del Castillo de San Romualdo. It was consecrated in 1764 but was not completed until the early 19th century. Its primitive design is attributed to Alejandro Perdia although Torcuato Benjumeda is credited with its final appearance. It was built to satisfy the needs of San Fernando's growing population. Financing for its construction was raised by a tax on wine. Legend states, however, that an Englishman saw the unfinished state of the church and donated a large sum of money in spite of belonging to the Anglican Church himself. Its historical value is important, as it was here that deputies of the first Spanish Constituent Assembly were sworn in on September 24, 1810. A series of small offices within the building were historically used as meeting places for some guilds.
Two architectural styles predominate the rectangular building: Late Baroque, especially the ornamental decorations around the various doors, and Neoclassicism in the upper sections of the towers topping the facade. Four bells which bear the names of the four Evangelists are situated in its two towers. The facade includes a flat bay with slightly arched lintel. The central nave is flanked by two aisles and there is a transept and a vestry which is at a slightly higher level than the rest of the church. The floor is of marble and there is an oyster stone plinth. The sacristy is behind the chancel. A hemispherical dome crowns the transept with ribbed vaults at the same height as the roof of the nave. Tuscan pillars supporting curved arches separate the aisles from the central nave.
During restoration work in 1959, the main altar was adorned with paintings of Christ crucified with St Peter and St Paul on either side. The baptismal chapel in the first section of the nave is decorated with murals of the four Evangelists, dating to 1959. Other paintings in the church include Nuestra Señora del Rosario and San Miguel. Other various works of art include Holy Week processions in the city. The crypt, known as the cellar, contains the tombs of monks.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.