Dun Ringill is an Iron Age hill fort on the Strathaird peninsula. Further fortified in the Middle Ages, tradition holds that it was for several centuries the seat of Clan MacKinnon. The original structure is consistent with an Iron Age Broch dating to approximately the first years of the common era. The main and subordinate structures have been occupied and modified throughout its history until the 19th century. Tradition relates that the structure was occupied by the MacKinnons as their clan seat well before the 16th century. It is mentioned in historical texts in the 16th century after which the MacKinnons moved their seat to Dunakin.
Dun Ringill today is a stacked stone ruin overlooking Loch Slapin. The present structure is approximately 4 meters in height and 16 meters on each side with a ditch following the outer wall. Its most notable feature is the central landward facing doorway approximately 1.8 meters high that leads into the center of the structure. The interior of the structure contained two rectangular buildings 4.5 meters by 2.4 meters. The original layout was similar to that of a broch, a form of complex Atlantic roundhouse.
A stone wall foundation encloses area adjacent to the structure. Similarly to other castles and fortified houses, the wall probably formed a defensive perimeter and livestock enclosure. The remains of the wall itself are hidden by vegetation. A site survey has shown that there are remains of other buildings in the immediate vicinity; and although their age is uncertain, it is likely their construction and occupation was throughout the history of Dun Ringill up until the 19th century.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.