Morača Monastery is one of the best known medieval monuments of Montenegro. The founding history is engraved above the western portal. Stefan, a son of Vukan Nemanjić, the Grand Prince of Zeta (r. 1190-1207), founded the monastery in 1252, possibly on his own lands (appanage). The region was under the rule of the Nemanjić dynasty.
Monastery was burned by the Ottomans for the first time in 1505, during a turbulent period of insurgency in Montenegro. The monks took shelter in Vasojevići. It was abandoned for the next seventy years. Thanks to moderate political climate established by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha rebuilding started in 1574 and ended in 1580.
The assembly church is a big one-nave building in the Rascian style (The style spanned 1170-1300 and differs from the seaside churches), devoted to the Assumption of Mary, including a smaller church devoted to Saint Nicholas, as well as lodgings for travellers. The main door has a high wall which has two entrances, in the romantic style.
Beside the architecture, its frescoes are of special importance; the oldest fresco depicting eleven compositions from the life of the prophet Elias date to the 13th century, while the rest, of lesser condition, date to the 16th century. The 13th-century fresco shows conservative traits, with late-Comnenian figure-schemes, with architectural motifs of heavy and solid blocks, similar in manner to the frescoes of Sopoćani. Out of the later frescoes, Paradise and the Bosom of Abraham and Satan on the Two-Headed Beast are notable Last Judgement depictions, dated to 1577-8. The Ottoman Empire annexed the region in the first half of the 16th century, and the monastery was occupied and damaged, including most of the art.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.