Holy Trinity Church is a historical building in Hrastovlje. There are two hypotheses about its origin. According to the first, it is a Romanesque church from the 12th century. According to the second, it is an example of the Istrian variant of Early Venetian Renaissance architecture from the 15th century. The church stands behind a wall that the local population built to protect itself from Turkish attacks in the 16th century.
The church and wall were built on bare rock, and for this reason do not have deep foundations. The church is built mostly out of stone, as is typical for the entire coastal region. The stones were never entirely covered in an outer layer of plaster, and it is thus possible to see how the church was built. One can see that top of the church spire was rebuilt at some time, although it is not known why. The church is topped with tiles made of thick plates. These are characteristic for older roofs in the Mediterranean region.
The church has only 2 windows (a third window was walled up in the past) as a result of the local weather conditions. In summer, a room with a small window was protected from the sun, while in winter it was protected from the bora. Because of the low number of windows, the inside of the church is however very dark. In 1896, a hole was knocked in the northern wall to create a new window, but unfortunately some of the frescoes in the church were destroyed at the same time.
Despite the lack of windows, the church nonetheless used to be better lit than it is today. This is the result of the addition of the powerful outer wall, which robs the church of much of its light.
Because of its height, the church is classed as a multi-layered church. The church in Hrastovlje differs from all other pilgrim churches in that its bell-tower is located on the western side and in that all other pilgrim churches have small wooden towers.
The church is 11.7 metres long and 6.05 metres wide and thereby one of the smallest churches in the area. It is not even as large as the average village church. Some claim that the church is an example of IstrianRenaissance architecture from the second half of the 15th century.
The appearance of the northwestern entrance to the church, as known today, dates back to around 1776. The original entrance was probably next to the bell-tower.
The church has been painted with Gothic frescoes by Johannes de Castua in 1490. Some of them include letters in the Glagolitic script. The most famous of these frescoes is a Dance of Death or 'Danse Macabre'.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.