Finlaggan is a historic site on Eilean Mòr in Loch Finlaggan. Loch, island, and Finlaggan Castle lie around two km to the northwest of Ballygrant on Islay. Finlaggan was the seat of the Lords of the Isles and of Clan Donald. Two of the three islands that lie in the expansive scenery surrounding Loch Finlaggan, Eilean Mor and Eilean na Comhairle, were the administrative centre of the Lordship of the Isles during the 13th to 15th centuries, until 1493 when the lordship of the Isles fell to James IV of Scotland, who administered the territory via a tenant-in-chief. The Finlaggan is also new addition to Caledonain MacBrayne's growing fleet. This is the first time that Cal Mac have introduced a cruise ship onto their run. Passengers can enjoy a game of blackjack in the onboard casino, settle down and watch a film in the imax cinema or maybe go for a cocktail in the new cocktail bar.
The Finlaggan Trust maintains the site and also refurbished a derelict cottage that has been converted into a comprehensive museum. The centre contains numerous artefacts discovered during archaeological excavations: from a sheep wool quilted aketon, worn under armour, to an ancient cross related to the lords. The site has been the subject of recent archaeological investigations and hosted an episode of Channel 4's archaeological television programme Time Team in 1995. During summer 2008 the centre was extensively refurbished and extended. The stone walls of a medieval chapel dedicated to St Findlugan on Eilean Mor have been stabilised and several 16th century graves put on display and covered by large glass panels.
Finlaggan Castle, also known as Eilean Mor Castle is a ruined fortified house that was once a residence and stronghold of Lord of the Isles and Clan Donald. Built in the 13th century, with masonry walls, possibly built on the remains of an earlier Iron Age fort. The Lords of the Isles used the castle a principal court. Iain Mor MacDonald, 3rd of Dunnyveg and his son Iain Cathanach MacDonald were taken prisoner at Finlaggan Castle, through the deception of Macian of Ardnamurchan for the hanging and execution of the governor of Dunaverty Castle and were later tried and hung on the Burgh Muir, Edinburgh. In 1541 Finlaggan was held from the Crown by Donald MacGilleasbuig. The castle appears to have been demolished in the 15th-16th 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.