Above the compact Piran town centre reigns St. George's Cathedral, which gives the city its special character. It was probably built in the 12th century, but no exact data in this regard exists.
In the 14th century, it was built to its present size. In the year 1344, on the Day of St. George, the cathedral was consecrated by nine bishops from near and far. It acquired its present appearance after Baroque renovation in the year 1637. The Bell Tower was completed in 1608, and the Baptistery in the year 1650. During these years, reinforcements were made to the hill on which the cathedral rests.
The supporting walls were built in the year 1641, and on the sea side, the hill was fortified with stone arches. The construction of the stone arches began in the year 1663 and lasted until 1804. They were seriously dilapidated due to the effects of erosion, and thus had to be reconstructed and restored in 1998.
In the year 1737, St George's Cathedral acquired seven marble altars. Of the preserved works of art, the two sculptures of St. George are particularly worth seeing. The larger one is from the 17th century and is the work of an unknown sculptor. The smaller one is silver-plated and was made by a Piran-based goldsmith's workshop. The wall paintings are the work of the Venetian school. The two big paintings (Mass in Bolsena and St. George's Miracle) date from the beginning of the 17th century and were painted by Angelo de Coster.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.