Starigrad Fortress was built during the Croatian–Ottoman wars (15th century) as a primary defence against the Ottoman Empire. The precipitous fortification is sited on a 262 m ridge above the town Omiš. In the event of attack, its purpose was to provide refuge for local people and be a stronghold where they could retreat to and resist the Turks.
As the stone fort's defensive strength is derived from the elevation at which it was built, it is a rudimentary defensive structure. A two-storey square tower stands at its highest point, serving as both a lookout post and keep. A simple bastion stands at the opposite end of the fort to cover the approach path and the ridge line. It has an outer barbican to defend the fort's narrow entrance gateway and the gorge below the fort. The walls, which are about 1 m thick, are made from locally quarried limestone. They enclose an inner bailey that is separated into two distinct levels by the difference in the site's natural rock height. Access between the levels is via a small stone stairway that was once protected by a stone wall and gateway. In event of attack, the fortification's design permits the defenders to fall back to higher ground as each level falls.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.