Keills Chapel is a simple, rectangular chapel dedicated to St Cormac. It is one of few churches from the 1100s and 1200s surviving in Argyll. The chapel served as the parish church of Knapdale until the parish was split into two in 1734.
The church site contains almost 40 carved stones, ranging in date from the 8th to the 16th century. Pre-eminent among them is the 8th-century Keills Cross. This free-standing, ring-headed high cross, carved from blue slate, stands some 2m high. Only one face is decorated. Panels of spiral ornament, animals and key-interlace decorate the shaft. The centre of the cross-head has a raised, circular boss hollowed in the middle. The cross was most likely made by a craftsman from Iona, where three more fine high crosses can be seen.
The collection also includes fragments of another early Christian free-standing cross and four early Christian, cross-decorated grave-slabs. The remainder comprises late-medieval sculpture, mostly grave-slabs. These are generally long, tapering stones decorated with a variety of motifs, among them swords, targes (shields), crosses and craftsmen’s tools. The impressive collection of grave-slabs includes examples from all five ‘schools’ of sculptors working for West Highland patrons in the later Middle Ages (1300s—1500s). These sculptors worked in Knapdale as well as at Iona, Loch Awe, Kintyre and Loch Sween.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.