Dun Carloway is one of the best preserved examples of a broch towers in Scotland. Broch is a type of fortification found only in Scotland. There are well over 500 of them across the country, the majority in northern and western Scotland and the islands. Brochs emerged in the Iron Age around 2,300 years ago. They stopped being built in the early centuries AD.
Brochs developed from strong circular houses into tall, imposing buildings. They were drystone structures formed of two concentric walls, with a narrow entrance passage at ground level and small cells entered off the central area. A stone stair corkscrewed its way to the top between the two walls.
Dun Carloway still stands in parts almost 9m high, close to its original height. The collapse of part of its wall provides a perfect cross-section, revealing the characteristic broch design. This was a double-skinned wall with two tiers of internal galleries formed by flat slabs. The low entrance passage into the broch is at ground level. The passage has a small oval cell in its right-hand side, perhaps a guardroom. Opposite the entrance is another small cell and the door to the stairway that originally rose to the wallhead. On the inside face of the wall, at the level of the lower gallery, is a stone ledge, or scarcement. This ledge probably helped to support a raised floor.
Most brochs were built in the period from 100 BC to 100 AD. Dun Carloway was probably built in the 1st century AD. Through the centuries Dun Carloway remained in use until the floor level was too high due to build-up of the occupation layers. The broch was occasionally used in later times as a stronghold. The Morrisons of Ness put Dun Carloway into use in 1601. The story goes that they had stolen cattle from the MacAuleys of Uig. The MacAuleys wanted their cattle back and found the Morrisons in the broch. One of them, Donald Cam MacAuley, climbed the outer wall using two daggers and managed to smoke-out the inhabitants by throwing heather into the broch and then setting fire to it. The MacAuleys then destroyed the broch.
Presumably in the 16th century the walls of the broch was still largely intact. In the middle of the 19th century a large portion of the top of the wall had disappeared, the stones being re-used in other buildings. The situation in 1861 is shown in a drawing published in 1890 by Captain Thomas. To prevent further decay Dun Carloway was in 1882 one of the first officially protected monuments in Scotland. Five years later, the broch was placed under state management. Since this time restoration has been performed on the broch. At the beginning of the 20th century and in the 1970s there was limited archaeological excavation.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.