Hollokö is an outstanding example of a deliberately preserved traditional settlement. This village, which developed mainly during the 17th and 18th centuries, is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century. The village has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
In the middle of the 13th century, in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion, construction of Hollókő castle first began as a means to protect the area against future attacks. At this time, the area around Hollókő was held by the Kacsics noble clan. The castle was first mentioned in records in 1310. The original village was built just below the castle walls. The Ottomans captured the castle in 1552 and for the next 150 years, control alternated between Ottoman and Hungarian forces. At the end of the Ottoman era (1683) the castle and the village were finally abandoned and the present village grew up below. Many of the existing houses were first built around this time. The houses, which contain wood in their structure, have had to be rebuilt many times throughout the years due to periodic fires, the last being in 1909.
Hollókö is a living community whose conservation not only includes farming activity but also ensures its success. It provides a certainly exceptional and maybe unique example of voluntary conservation of a traditional village with its soil. The plots that were modified by the regrouping of land were returned to their original strip shape. The vineyards, orchards and vegetable gardens have been recreated; the ecological balance has been restored, even in the forestry environment, taking infinite care to respect historical authenticity. Hollókö not only represents the Palocz subgroup within the Magyar entity, but also bears witness, for the whole of Central Europe, to the traditional forms of rural life, which were generally abolished by the agricultural revolution in the 20th century.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.