Lunna Kirk (church) probably dates back at least in part to the 1100s and is by far the oldest building in use for Christian worship in Shetland. The church has an unusual structure, with both of the side walls supported by a series of massive buttresses. An unusual feature on the east side of the church, which is likely to date back to a major rebuild of the structure in the 1300s or 1400s, is a lepers' squint, designed to allow lepers to hear the service and see the altar without physically coming into contact with the congregation.

In 1701 the church was declared redundant following a reorganisation of parishes in Shetland and it was thereafter used as a burial place for the Hunter family, lairds of the area. It resumed duty as a parish church from 1753 and the interior and many of the details date back to what seems at least to have been a major renovation, if not a partial rebuilt, then.

The interior of Lunna Kirk is superb. A pulpit stands against the south east side wall, almost on a level with the gallery that extends around the other three sides of the church. At ground floor level wooden stalls are arranged so all eyes are on the preacher.

Access to the gallery is via an exterior stair on the south west end wall. The gallery itself fits within the sloping ceiling of the kirk.

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Founded: 1100s
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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Margaret Stevens (3 years ago)
Great service, such great staff. I will certainly return on my next holiday to Shetland. :) xx
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

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