Freising Cathedral, also called Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral, is a romanesque basilica. An early church was present on the site by AD 715, consecrated as episcopal church by Boniface in 739. A triple nave was constructed in 860 and rebuilt after a fire in 903. The church was completely destroyed by fire on Palm Sunday, 5 April 1159. Construction of the current romanesque building started in 1159 and completed in 1205. The romanesque wooden ceiling was replaced by a gothic vault in 1481–3.
The tomb of St. Corbinian, the patron saint of the bishopric, is located in the four-nave crypt of the cathedral. In the centre of this crypt is the Bestiensäule ('pillar of beasts'), one of the most distinguished sculptures in Europe.
Substantial reconstruction was undertaken during the Baroque period, beginning in 1619. A complete renovation begun in 1621, and its nearly completed high altar was consecrated on 1 January 1624. In 1623, Prince-Bishop Veit Adam von Gebeck of Freising commissioned Hans Rottenhammer (1564-1625) to paint a vast altarpiece. Rottenhammer was near the end of his career (and life) and possibly an alcoholic, and his work was delayed. The commission was transferred to Rubens at an unknown time. Rubens completed the painting of the Woman of the Apocalypse, a subject that had been very popular in German iconography since the 15th century. The finished painting is first mentioned in 1632, when it was evacuated from the advancing Swedish troops. It is now kept in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
Another renovation was undertaken in 1724, in view of the church's thousand-year anniversary. The rococo decoration of the interior created is a work of Cosmas Damian Asam and Egid Quirin Asam. In the 1920s, some of the frescoes were painted over and severely damged. These were restored in 2006.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.