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

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.