The Oświęcim Chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, is an extension to the Gothic Franciscan Church in Krosno. Founded in 1647–1648 by a prominent representative of the Oświęcim family, it is also commonly known as the 'Chapel of Love'. Associated with the romantic legend of Stanisław Oświęcim's love for his sister Anna, the building is one of the finest artistic achievements of its era. It represents a type of early Baroque burial chapel built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern inspired by the early Renaissance Sigismund's Chapel.
The designer of the chapel was Vincenzo Petroni from Milan. The rich stucco decoration was the work of the most outstanding stucco decorator of 17th-century Poland, Govanni Battista Falconi. The chapel was built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern. At the entrance, there is a richly carved marble portal and a decorative grille.
The elaborate floral designs are enriched with winged putti. The decoration of the interior is not typically religious as it glorifies the founding family. The coat of arms and military insignia invoke the Oświęcims' noble traditions.
The main furnishing is the altar from 1890 (a faithful copy of a mid-17th century original) with ornaments, woodcuts and paintings dating from the chapel's foundation. The central painting depicts St. Stanislaus resurrecting the deceased knight Piotr with Stanisław and Anna in the background.
The entrance to the crypt beneath the chapel is covered with large boards. The two coffins along the wall contain the remains of Stanisław's father and uncle. Four others were placed in small niches, the smallest coffin indicating the deceased was a child. The centre of the crypt houses the coffins of Anna and Stanisław.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.