Brochs

Dun Ringill

Dun Ringill is an Iron Age hill fort on the Strathaird peninsula. Further fortified in the Middle Ages, tradition holds that it was for several centuries the seat of Clan MacKinnon. The original structure is consistent with an Iron Age Broch dating to approximately the first years of the common era. The main and subordinate structures have been occupied and modified throughout its history until the 19th century. Tradition ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Borrafiach

Dun Borrafiach is an Iron Age broch located on the Waternish peninsula of Skye. It occupies a rocky outcrop overlooking the Borrafiach Burn. Dun Borrafiach has an external diameter of 16.5 metres, and the walls still stand to a height of 2.7 metres on the south side. The entrance is on the northwest side of the broch.[2] The northeast side of the entrance-way appears to have been narrowed in antiquity by the insertion of ...
Founded: 300-200 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Fiadhairt

Dun Fiadhairt is an Iron Age broch standing on a low, rocky knoll in the midst of moorland, on a peninsula which juts into the east side of Loch Dunvegan. The broch has an external diameter of 16.8 metres and an internal diameter of 9.6 metres. The main entrance is on the west side of the broch and the entrance passage is 3.7 metres long. The passage contains two opposing guard cells. The interior of the broch contains a ...
Founded: 300-0 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Hallin

Dun Hallin is an Iron Age broch located on the Waternish peninsula of Skye. Dun Hallin has an external diameter of around 17.4 metres and an internal diameter of around 10.5 metres. The broch walls currently stand to a maximum height of 3.8 metres on the north and west sides. The entrance is on the southeast side but is in a ruined state. On each side of the entrance passage are oval guard cells, although only the norther ...
Founded: 300-100 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Snabrough Broch

Snabrough ruined broch is located on the island of Unst in Shetland, which is part of northern Scotland.
Founded: | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

West Burrafirth Broch

Borgarfjörð, the 'fjord of the borg', now West Burra Firt, was so named by the Norsemen on account of the borg (broch) or 'Pictish tower', which still stands on the little holm north of West Burra Firth pier, now greatly ruined. The broch dates to the very early 1st century AD and in the 19th century was 'connected with the land by a bridge of large stepping-stones over which the sea flow ...
Founded: 0 - 100 AD | Location: Haroldswick, United Kingdom

Broch of Burrian

The Broch of Burrian is an Iron Age structure, which stands on a small headland next to a rocky shoreline. It is separated from the hinterland by a series of defensive earthworks. The broch has an external diameter of 18 metres and an internal diameter of 9.5 metres. The entrance passage is on the southeast side, and the walls are solid. There is a small room in the inner wall of the broch on the northeast side. The broc ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Broch of Ayre

Broch of Ayre, also known as St. Mary"s Broch, is an Iron Age structure in Orkney. It was first excavated in December 1901 and then again in the summer of 1909. Little now survives, though part of the broch wall is still extant. The excavations revealed traces of internal architecture and external, probably later, structures. The 1901 excavations revealed that the broch wall survived to over a metre in height in par ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Dun Bharabhat

Dun Bharabhat is an Iron Age galleried dun (ancient fort) or 'semi-broch' situated on the island of Great Bernera. The broch stands high above the water, and is connected to the shore by a 30 metre causeway. The building is a D-shaped broch with a wall of uneven thickness. The broch measures 17 metres by 13 metres externally. The walls stand to a maximum height of 3.4 metres. The building is badly ruined, and strewn with ...
Founded: 300-200 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Loch na Berie

Loch Na Berie is the site of an Iron Age Broch and associated causeway. The site was excavated in the 1980s, which identified that the Broch had survived to first floor level. Loch na Berie is roughly 16.5 meters in diameter and the walls are roughly 3 meters thick. A modern causeway made of stones robbed from the broch was built to the west of the broch, though it is thought that an ancient causeway underlies the modern ...
Founded: 100 BC - 100 AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Ousdale Broch

Ousdale Broch is an Iron Age broch located near the small settlement of Ousdale. It has an external diameter of around 16 metres. The main entrance is on the southwest and is 4.3 metres long with nearly all the roofing lintels still in position. The entrance passage is 1.78 metres high and 75 centimetres wide. The entrance passage contains two sets of door-checks, and there is also a guard-cell. The interior of the broch ...
Founded: 300-100 BC | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.