Inchkenneth, ‘Kenneth’s Island’, is dedicated to Kenneth of Aghaboe, a contemporary of St Columba. However, no evidence survives for an early Christian monastery on the island. The present ruin is a rectangular chapel dating from the 1200s. In form it is like many medieval churches in the Highlands – small, sparsely lit and simply arranged.
The entrance was through a door at the west end of the north wall. Though now badly worn, it retains evidence of high-quality decoration. The interior, though, has very little architectural or sculptural adornment. A step down is all that marks the division between nave and chancel. The base of an altar and two aumbries (wall-cupboards) remain in the chancel. Projecting stones high up in the chancel may have been brackets for holy images or lamps.
In and around the chapel is a fascinating collection of monumental sculpture. The chapel itself houses eight grave-slabs carved in the distinctive West Highland style and dating from the 1300s to the 1500s. One bears the effigy of a cleric wearing a mitre – probably an abbot or bishop. On the south side of the chapel is a post-Reformation burial aisle housing a table-tomb with an effigy of a Maclean of Breolas. The headstone commemorates Dame Mary Macpherson, who married the Jacobite Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet of Duart, whilst residing at James VII’s French court in exile in 1695.
The surrounding churchyard has a fine collection of memorials. They include an effigy of an armed man with a shield in one hand and a cannonball in the other, which probably dates from the 1600s.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.