The monumental ruins of ancient Tyndaris are a main attraction in current day Tindari. Tyndaris was strategically situated on its prominent hill overlooking the wide bay of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was one of the latest of all the cities in Sicily that could claim a purely Greek origin, having been founded by the elder Dionysius in 396 or 395 BC.
By the 19th century, the site of Tyndaris was wholly deserted, but the name was retained by a church, which crowned the most elevated point of the hill on which the city formerly stood. Considerable ruins of the ancient city, are also visible. It occupied the whole plateau or summit of the hill, and the remains of the ancient walls may be traced, at intervals, all round the brow of the cliffs, except in one part, facing the sea, where the cliff is now quite precipitous. It is not improbable that it is here that a part of the cliff fell in, in the manner recorded by Pliny Two gates of the city are also still distinctly to be traced.
The greek theatre exists today, rebuilt in Roman times upon the Greek foundations as well as the propylaeum with two stone arches. There are also several other edifices of Roman times, but of wholly uncertain character, a mosaic pavement and some Roman tombs.
Numerous inscriptions, fragments of sculpture, and architectural decorations, as well as coins, vases etc. have also been discovered on the site.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.