Derbent fortress of Naryn-Kala
Derbent fortress of Naryn-Kala Image: Сулим Кудусов (Wikimedia) CC BY-SA 3.0

Muon radiography obtains 3D images of the oldest Christian church in Russia

By using muon radiography, scientists from Russia’s National University of Science and Technology MISIS have successfully identified the contours of the underground space in the Derbent fortress of Naryn-Kala. The first results of the scan show that it is highly possibly that the now buried building was originally constructed as a Christian temple. If this hypothesis is confirmed after further study, this building is the oldest Christian church in Russia and one of the oldest in the world.

Dated from 300 A.D, the 12-meter building was used as a reservoir for two centuries. However, it is difficult to find out the original purpose of the building through excavations as this would destroy the ancient fortress of Derbent, a UNESCO cultural heritage site. The current study can only be conducted after innovative muon detectors were installed in the buried building and a final three-dimensional tomogram of the underground building will be constructed during the next stage of the research.

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Derbent and its citadel (Wiki)

Derbent is the second largest city in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia and one of the most ancient cities in Russia. Its citadel, ancient city and fortress have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.