Barpa Langass is a Neolithic chambered cairn, which now survives as a massive pile of stone. It is located on a hill overlooking a dramatic landscape of barren peatland. The cairn is roughly 16 feet high, and around 82 feet across. The inner chamber is still accessible. From the east side of the tomb the narrow passage leads to a wide chamber. It is difficult to judge the original appearance of the cairn, but it has been suggested that it had a more bun like appearance with outer facing stones and an earthen top portion. This great cairn is the only chambered cairn in the Western Isles with its chamber still roofed over. During excavation in 1911 traces of burnt burials, beaker shards, an arrowhead and a disc of mica (maybe a pendant) were found. On the south side of the same hill is Pobull Fhinn an ancient stone circle.

At the time the cairn was built the Western Isles had a much milder climate, the peat bogs were not yet formed, and the landscape would have been more like southern scrubland and woodland. It would have been capable of providing pasture for grazing animals. Barpa Langass stands on the north side of Beinn Langais, and just half a mile from the stone circle of Pobull Fhinn To find this grand cairn travel to North Uist and it is signposted off the A867 Lochmaddy-Clachan road.

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Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.