Brochs

Dun Dornaigil

Dun Dornaigil is an Iron Age broch in Sutherland. The broch has an external diameter of about 14.5 metres. The walls generally survive from 2 to 3 metres around the circumference of the broch, but above the doorway they rise to nearly 7 metres. The entrance is on the northeast side but is filled with debris.[1] There is a massive triangular lintel over the entrance which measures 1.4 metres along the base, and 0.9 metres ...
Founded: 300-0 BC | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Broch of Borwick

The Broch of Borwick is an Iron Age living structure. It has an external diameter of 17 metres and an internal diameter of 8 metres. The walls which are 3.5 to 5 metres thick currently stand to a maximum height of 2.6 metres. The eastern half of the broch and the entrance passage are well preserved, but the western half has been destroyed by erosion. The entrance passage, which is still lintelled over, is 5.6 metres long ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Culswick Broch

Culswick Broch is an unexcavated coastal broch, an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure. Built of striking red stone, it has beautiful views all around, including Foula and Vaila isles, and Fitful Head and Fair Isle in the south. The broch stands commandingly on the top of a massive rock platform and is about 3 metres high at its tallest point. Much rubble has fallen into the centre. This broch has a massive triangul ...
Founded: | Location: Shetland, 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

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

Burroughston Broch

Burroughston Broch is an Iron Age structure located on the island of Shapinsay. Excavated in the mid 19th century, Burroughston Broch is still well-preserved. The drystone walls are up to four metres thick in some parts and there is a complete chamber intact off the entrance passage. Some remains of stone fittings are evident in the interior. The walls of Burroughston Broch have an external diameter of around 18 metres, ...
Founded: 500-200 BC | Location: Orkney, United Kingdom

Dun an Sticir

Dun an Sticir is an Iron Age broch situated approximately 9.5 kilometers north of Lochmaddy in a lake on North Uist. A building was erected on the site in the late-medieval period. Dun an Sticir was probably built in the Iron Age in the period between 100 BC and 100 AD, like most brochs. Limited excavations resulted in finds of pottery. The broch was probably inhabited during the Viking period. In the Middle Ages the bro ...
Founded: 100BC - 100AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

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 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 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

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

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.