Teurnia was a Roman city in western Carinthia. In late antiquity it was also a bishop's see, and towards the end of Roman times it was mentioned as the capital of the province of Noricum mediterraneum.
As early as 1100 BC, people had lived there on Holzerberg hill, which may well have also been the centre of the Celtic Taurisci nation. Before c. 50 AD the Roman town was built with a forum, a market basilica, a temple on the city's Capitol, Thermae or public baths, terraced housing on two terraces, and a temple dedicated to Grannus, the Celtic counterpart deity of Aesculap, god of medicine and healing, but in Teurnia invoked as Grannus Apollo. Usually older hill-top settlements were moved by the Romans to lower-lying areas with the one exception of the oppidum at Teurnia in the tribal region of the Ambidravi, where old names are said to have been retained and no renaming took place.
Teurnia was one of the largest places in all Noricum with, in its peak period, a population of 30,000. Towards the end of the Empire the population decreased; people left the housing terraces, and the slopes being no longer suitable for agriculture were used as cemeteries. At the same time walls went up surrounding the hilltop with material from the deserted houses.
By the 4th century, Teurnia was already a Christian town and it was a bishop's see until the city's decline and its end in 610.
Holzerberg hill was a well-known place of antique finds as early as the Middle Ages. Professional excavations began with the accidental discovery of the cemetery church in 1908. The mosaic of its donor, the praeses or governor Ursus, in the right side-chapel of the three-naved basilica is in near-perfect preservation. In twelve pictures the mosaic shows christological, mythological and biblical symbols as well as the names of one Ursus, the donor, and his spouse, Ursina.
In 1984, the Early-Christian bishop's church was discovered, which has now been roofed over and is open to visitors. The episcopal church was built at the beginning of the 5th century and a century later, after a destructive fire, was rebuilt in basilica style with three naves and three apses.
In the village centre of St. Peter-in-Holz there is a recent 'Römer-Museum' exhibiting numerous artefacts from the city area of Teurnia. Nearby are the preserved remains of a Roman town villa or villa urbana boasting a simple hypocaust in form of the letter Y. Next to the bishop's church the Hospitium, the bishop's guest house, was found, but for protection purposes it has been covered with soil again. More excavation work is going on. Information on the city's history and the excavation work is provided in display cases all over the area.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.