Orphir Round Church Ruins

Orphir, United Kingdom

Today Orphir contains the remains of Scotland's only surviving circular medieval church. Built in the late 11th, or early 12th century, the Orphir Round Church is thought to have been built by Earl Hakon. Dedicated to Saint Nicholas, its design was inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

At the time of the church construction, the Great Crusades were in full swing and the circular church had become a popular design with returning crusaders attempting to copy the famous structure in the Holy Land.

Originally, the church consisted of a circular nave just over six metres in diameter and an apse. The apse remains today, along with a small section of the nave's eastern section.

The church survived, almost complete, until the middle of the 18th century when sections were pulled down and the stone used to construct the new parish church. The replacement parish church did not last and no trace survives today.

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Details

Founded: c. 1100
Category: Ruins in United Kingdom

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Georgina Clouston (2 months ago)
Beautiful little church yard, overlooking the sea,
Julie Kennedy (2 months ago)
Visited here and had a wander round the old grave yard. It was a nice spot but so sad at the amount of parents that outlived their children.
Victoria Jones (2 months ago)
If you are a fan of the Viking sagas then it's a particular thrill to see the exact locations described in the Orkneyinga Saga. Unfortunately the museum is closed due to Covid.
Dawn Davies (2 months ago)
An amazing place to visit. Fascinating to know this was a Viking church. Great tour guide John took our 20 custom bikes around the Orkney Island.
David West (4 months ago)
A peaceful place worth a detour.
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