The Nestorian church is top be found in the north west quarter of Famagusta, where most middle east Christians settled. The Nestorians mainly arrived after the fall of Acre in 1291. They were mainly merchants, and extremely wealthy. This church was reputedly built in 1359 by Francis Lakhas, who is said to be so rich that he once ground up a diamond to spread on his food, just to show that he could afford to do it.
In spite of his great wealth, the church he built was simple, although there is a rather attractive rose window above the entrance. It was originally single aisled with a half-domed apse. At a later stage, two more aisles were added, and two pointed arches were opened in the north and south walls so that the aisles could communicate. It is thought that the belfry to the west is a later addition.
The interior once contained rich and diverse frescoes and inscriptions in Syriac script. Most have disappeared, but those that remain are in good condition, depicting saints.
During Ottoman times, the church became redundant, as was used as a camel stable. In the mid 19th century, the church was converted to Greek Orthodox to serve the small Greek Cypriot community in Famagusta.
The Greeks dedicated the church to Ayios Yeoryios Exorinos (St George the Exiler). Legend has it that if you swept up some dust from the floor of this church and put it in your enemy's house, it would cause their death or exile within a year. The church continued to serve the Greek Cypriots till 1963.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.