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History of the Ruins near Chagyl in Turkmenistan

History of the Ruins near Chagyl in Turkmenistan

In the Balkan Region of Turkmenistan, there is a small (possibly abandoned) modern village built on top of what looks to be some sort of ancient ruins near the remote town of Chagyl. (Some of the contemporary houses at the site even appear to be using the raised walls of the ruins as fencing.)

You can see a satellite picture of the complex here: https://binged.it/2E9tk3L

(Bing calls this area Tuar, although Google Maps labels it Tüwer.)

Is there any information on the history of said ruins or what the area may have been known for before they were, well, ruined?

It's interesting that the site appears near the path of the fabled Silk Road.

It's also interesting that there look like what appear to be man-made path lines criss-crossing the desert in this general region as well.

(In more recent satellite pictures, you can see a modern railroad being built through some of these pathways to the north of the Garabogazköl lagoon at the Kazakhstan border.)


Inchkenneth Chapel Ruins

Inchkenneth, &lsquoKenneth&rsquos Island&rsquo, is dedicated to Kenneth of Aghaboe, a contemporary of St Columba. However, no evidence survives for an early Christian monastery on the island. The present ruin is a rectangular chapel dating from the 1200s. In form it is like many medieval churches in the Highlands &ndash small, sparsely lit and simply arranged.

The entrance was through a door at the west end of the north wall. Though now badly worn, it retains evidence of high-quality decoration. The interior, though, has very little architectural or sculptural adornment. A step down is all that marks the division between nave and chancel. The base of an altar and two aumbries (wall-cupboards) remain in the chancel. Projecting stones high up in the chancel may have been brackets for holy images or lamps.

In and around the chapel is a fascinating collection of monumental sculpture. The chapel itself houses eight grave-slabs carved in the distinctive West Highland style and dating from the 1300s to the 1500s. One bears the effigy of a cleric wearing a mitre &ndash probably an abbot or bishop. On the south side of the chapel is a post-Reformation burial aisle housing a table-tomb with an effigy of a Maclean of Breolas. The headstone commemorates Dame Mary Macpherson, who married the Jacobite Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet of Duart, whilst residing at James VII&rsquos French court in exile in 1695.

The surrounding churchyard has a fine collection of memorials. They include an effigy of an armed man with a shield in one hand and a cannonball in the other, which probably dates from the 1600s.

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Built and occupied over 900 years ago, Aztec Ruins National Monument is the largest Ancestral Pueblo community in the Animas River Valley. In use for over 200 years, the site contains several multi-story buildings called “great houses,” each with a “great kiva”—a circular ceremonial chamber—as well as many smaller structures. Excavation of the West Ruin in the 1900s uncovered thousands of well-preserved artifacts that provide a glimpse into the life of Ancestral Pueblo people, connecting people of the past with people and traditions of today.

Many Southwestern American Indians today maintain deep spiritual ties with this ancestral site. Visitors today can learn about these remarkable people and their descendants and connect with the monument’s timeless landscape and stories. A short trail winds through this massive site offering a surprisingly intimate experience. Along the way visitors will discover original roofs, plaster walls, a reed mat left by the inhabitants, intriguing T shaped doorways, provocative north-facing corner doors, and more. The trail culminates with the reconstructed great kiva, a building that inherently inspires contemplation, wonder, and an ancient sense of sacredness.


History

St. Ninian came from Whithorn in Galloway in the 5th century and dedicated a Christian burial ground at Cathures (later Glasgow) in the Kingdom of Strathclyde.

To this spot in the following century came Kentigern, popularly called Mungo. He was born tradition says on the shore in Fife near Culross where the ruins of St. Mungo’s chapel are supposed to mark the spot. At Culross he was brought up by St. Serf and trained for the priesthood.

Mungo left St. Serf and came to Carnock in Stirlingshire from where he accompanied the corpse of a holy man, Fergus, which was carried on a cart by two untamed oxen. They stopped at St. Ninian’s burial ground in Cathures where Fergus was buried. The Blacader Aisle may mark the site.

Kentigern was chosen by the King, clergy and people to be their bishop, and he founded a monastic community and built a church where, reputedly, St. Columba came to visit him. From here Kentigern travelled to Cumbria, to the Lake District, and as far as St. Asaph in North Wales.

The date of his death is given as 13th January, 603. His tomb is in the Lower Church of the Cathedral where there is a service held every year to commemorate his life.

PRE-REFORMATION

There is little known about the church buildings which stood on the site of the present Cathedral until the early part of the 12th century.

The first stone building was consecrated in about 1136 in the presence of King David I and his Court when John (1117-1147) was Bishop.

Destroyed or severely damaged by fire, this cathedral was succeeded by a larger one consecrated in 1197, during the time of Bishop Jocelyn (1177-1199) to whom we owe the institution of the Glasgow Fair in July, which is still observed as an annual holiday.

In the early 14th century, the Nave was extended and completed. The south-west door and the entrance to the Blacader Aisle and the walls of the nave up to the level of the sills of the windows belong to this period.

The next major rebuilding came later in the 13th century with William de Bondinton (1233-1258) who was responsible for adding the Quire and the Lower Church. The doorways of the sacristy (Upper Chapter House) and of the Lower Chapter House date from the mid-13th century, and the whole church may have been completed before the end of the 13th century.

Most of the Nave above sill level probably dates from after 1330, and the West Window from the later 14th century.

The Pulpitum and the Blacader Aisle were added in the fifteenth century.

POST REFORMATION

After the Reformation a wall was put across the nave to allow the western portion of the nave to be used for worship by a congregation which became know as the Outer High. This congregation worshiped in the nave from 1647 until 1835.

The Lower Church was used by another congregation, the Barony, from 1596-1801, until a new church was built just across from the Cathedral.

When the Lower Church was no longer used for worship, soil was brought in to a depth of about five feet and it became the burial place for members of the Barony Congregation. The visible parts of the pillars were coloured black with white “tears”, the graves were enclosed by railings four feet high, with two narrow passages for access. The Lower Church was cleared before the middle of the 19th century.

The congregation which used the Quire was for a time called the Inner High. The pulpit was placed between pillars of the south aisle and the King’s Seat was on the north aisle. In 1805 a major reconstruction saw the pulpit removed to the east end. Galleries were inserted between the pillars on three sides, and the King’s Seat was removed to the western gallery in front of the Pulpitum or Choir Screen.

This brief history has been taken from “A Walk through Glasgow Cathedral” written by a previous Minister of the Cathedral, the late Very Revd. Dr. W. J. Morris.


Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.


History

The first settlement, a small Neolithic (New Stone Age) hamlet, was probably founded not later than the 7th millennium bce . Hassuna-Sāmarrāʾ and Tall Ḥalaf painted pottery of the subsequent Early Chalcolithic (Copper-Stone Age) phases, characteristic of the north, was succeeded by gray wares such as occur westward in the Jabal Sinjār. Farmers during the 4th millennium used clay sickles of a type found in the Ubaid period (see Tall al-ʿUbayd), and these imply contact with the south.

One of the most-remarkable discoveries that Mallowan and Thompson made in the prehistoric strata consisted of roughly made bevelled bowls, overturned in the soil and filled with vegetable matter. These may have been intended as magical offerings to expel evil spirits from houses. Their typology conforms exactly with that of Uruk (Erech) pottery, widespread throughout the Tigris–Euphrates valley in the late 4th millennium. In these levels also large metal vases occur, again characteristic of southern Babylonia, and technologically this district of the Tigris had much in common with the cities of the lower Euphrates valley at this period. This similarity is of particular interest because it indicates that sometime before 3000 bce a period of economic prosperity had united the commercial interests of north and south later these two civilizations diverged widely.

A little before and after 3000 bce , unpainted Ninevite pottery was similar to that used at Sumerian sites to approximately the same period belongs a series of attractively painted and incised ware known as Ninevite V, which is a home product distinct from that of the south. Beads found in these strata may be dated c. 2900 bce .

The most-remarkable object of the 3rd millennium bce is a realistic bronze head—life-size, cast, and chased—of a bearded monarch (now in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad). This, the finest piece of metal sculpture ever recovered from Mesopotamia, may represent the famous king Sargon of Akkad (c. 2334–c. 2279 bce ). However, because of its brilliant technique and elaborately modelled features, it is thought by some authorities to belong to a rather later stage of the Akkadian Period (c. 2334–c. 2154 bce ) if so, the head might represent King Naram-Sin (c. 2254–c. 2218 bce ). The hypothesis for the earlier period seems preferable, for metalwork advanced more rapidly in style in Mesopotamia at that period than did stone sculpture, and it is known from inscriptions that Sargon’s second son, Manishtusu, had built the temple of E-Mashmash at Nineveh by virtue of being the “son of Sargon” thus, a model of the founder of the dynasty would have been appropriately placed there.

Surprisingly, there is no large body of evidence to show that Assyrian monarchs built at all extensively in Nineveh during the 2nd millennium bce . Later monarchs whose inscriptions have appeared on the Acropolis include Shalmaneser I and Tiglath-pileser I, both of whom were active builders in Ashur the former had founded Calah (Nimrūd). Nineveh had to wait for the neo-Assyrians, particularly from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (ruled 883–859 bce ) onward, for a considerable architectural expansion. Thereafter successive monarchs kept in repair and founded new palaces, temples to Sin, Nergal, Nanna, Shamash, Ishtar, and Nabu (Nebo). Unfortunately, severe depredations have left few remains of these edifices.

It was Sennacherib who made Nineveh a truly magnificent city (c. 700 bce ). He laid out fresh streets and squares and built within it the famous “palace without a rival,” the plan of which has been mostly recovered and has overall dimensions of about 600 by 630 feet (180 by 190 metres). It comprised at least 80 rooms, of which many were lined with sculpture. A large part of the famous “K” collection of tablets was found there (see below) some of the principal doorways were flanked by human-headed bulls. At this time the total area of Nineveh comprised about 1,800 acres (700 hectares), and 15 great gates penetrated its walls. An elaborate system of 18 canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by the same monarch were discovered at Jerwan, about 25 miles (40 km) distant.

His successor Esarhaddon built an arsenal in the Nabī Yūnus mound, south of Quyunjik, and either he or his successor set up statues of the pharaoh Taharqa (Tarku) at its entrance as trophies to celebrate the conquest of Egypt. These were discovered by Fuad Safar and Muḥammad ʿAlī Muṣṭafā on behalf of the Iraqi Department of Antiquities in 1954.

Ashurbanipal later in the 7th century bce constructed a new palace at the northwest end of the Acropolis. He also founded the great library and ordered his scribes to collect and copy ancient texts throughout the country. The “K” collection included more than 20,000 tablets or fragments of tablets and incorporated the ancient lore of Mesopotamia. The subjects are literary, religious, and administrative, and a great many tablets are in the form of letters. Branches of learning represented include mathematics, botany, chemistry, and lexicology. The library contains a mass of information about the ancient world and will exercise scholars for generations to come.

Fourteen years after the death of Ashurbanipal, however, Nineveh suffered a defeat from which it never recovered. Extensive traces of ash, representing the sack of the city by Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes in 612 bce , have been found in many parts of the Acropolis. After 612 bce the city ceased to be important, although there are some Seleucid and Greek remains. Xenophon in the Anabasis recorded the name of the city as Mespila. In the 13th century ce the city seems to have enjoyed some prosperity under the atabegs of Mosul. Subsequently, houses continued to be inhabited at least as late as the 16th century ce . In these later levels imitations of Chinese wares have been found.


Did Vikings Actually Inhabit Minnesota?

Scandinavian roots run deep in Minnesota, and so does the belief among some that the first Vikings who inhabited the state were not of the National Football League variety. The theory that the ancient Norsemen explored Minnesota as much as 1,000 years ago blossomed after Swedish-American farmer Olof Ohman and his son discovered a 200-pound, rune-covered slab of stone in 1898 while clearing stumps near the rural town of Kensington. The inscription on the Kensington Runestone claimed that Vikings led by Paul Knutson had come to the prairies of western Minnesota in 1362 in search of the Vineland colony established by Leif Erickson, whom some Minnesotans believe also visited the state.

Filmmaker Mike Scholtz, director of the new documentary “Lost Conquest” that explores the debate over whether Vikings ever made it to Minnesota, says the discovery of the Kensington Rhinestone occurred at a time of increased interest in Vikings, not to mention a yearning by new Scandinavian settlers in Minnesota to feel welcome in their new homeland. “It was a time when recent Scandinavian immigrants were angst-ridden about their place in the world, so the discovery of the Kensington Runestone could reassure them that this is where they belonged,” Scholtz says.

Statue of the Viking Leif Erikson near the Minnesota State Capitol. (Credit: Public Domain)

Although experts nearly universally declared that the runestone and subsequent discoveries of Viking swords and relics were hoaxes, the idea that Nordic explorers once visited Minnesota gained new life after archaeologists uncovered evidence in Newfoundland that Leif Erickson had indeed traveled to North America. “The discovery emboldened people in Minnesota that they also may have had a Viking settlement,” says Scholtz, who is skeptical of the idea. “Prior to that, everyone who suggested that Vikings made it to North America were ridiculed, so when you have proof they made it to a part of North America, that said they could be anywhere.” In spite of scant evidence and little support from scholars, the belief among some Minnesotans still persists. “People are just genuinely interested in their own culture, and this is an exciting way to explore their own Scandinavian heritage,” Scholtz says.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.


Padley Chapel and Manor Gatehouse

HERITAGE RATING:

HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 15th-century timber roof

The 15th-century gatehouse and chapel of Padley Manor stand in a secluded rural site near Grindleford. Behind the Chapel are the ruins of the 14th-century manor house, now no more than foundation walls. The Chapel is best known for its association with a pair of Catholic priests captured here in 1588 and later executed for high treason.

The Padley Martyrs

During the 1580s it was a High Treason for an ordained priest to be in England, and anyone caught harbouring such a priest might be put to death. Recusants - people who refused to accept Elizabeth I as head of the church in England - were heavily persecuted. It was in this climate of fear and suspicion that the events at Padley Manor unfolded in 1588.

On 12 July 1588 Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick were arrested at Padley Manor, where they were visiting the owner, John Fitzherbert. It was more a matter of bad luck that the pair were found at Padley they were only staying one night. The authorities, led by the Earl of Shrewsbury, probably did not know the priests were at Padley, but were after John Fitzherbert for his recusant attitudes.

The Padley family must have had warning of the authorities approach, for they buried the altar stone in the garden. It was uncovered in 1934 and reinstated in what would have been the family chapel.

The pair were taken to Derby Gaol and charged with having entered England as Catholic priests. Garlick spoke for both the arrested men, and it seems that his bold and forthright attitude did not sit well with his questioners.

The two men were sentenced to treason on 23 July and executed the following day on St Mary's Bridge in Derby. A long-standing tradition suggests that Garlick's head was buried in the churchyard at Tideswell. In 1987 Garlick and Ludlam were beatified by the Catholic church.

The Eyam Connection

When the 2 prisoners were being transported from Padley to Derby, they passed through the village of Eyam, where they were verbally abused by the villagers. One or both of the men made a remark which was later construed as predicting the devastation of the Plague in the little Peak District village. In 1665 the Plague came to Eyam, but the villagers, under the leadership of their rector, quarantined themselves to prevent the spread of the disease to nearby villages.

What's in a Name?

You will see the buildings at Padley referred to by several different names, including Padley Chapel, Manor, and Manor Hall. All are accurate, for the site has been called each of these over its long history.

Padley's History

There was almost certainly a manor house here before the Norman Conquest, though nothing remains of that first building. William the Conqueror gave the Padley estate to one of his followers, the head of the De Bernac family. The Bernac's changed their family name to Padley after their estate. Ruins to the west of the Padley site show where the family extended the existing hall house.

The Padley family held the manor for over 350 years, and extended the original hall house to create a medieval manor around 1350. The male line died out in the early 15th century, and the last Padley was a young woman named Joan, who married Robert Eyre. The couple settled at Padley and extended the manor house with the addition of the very fine gatehouse we see today. The gatehouse was a status symbol, an indication of their wealth and influence.,/p>

The male line of the Eyre family died out after 4 generations, just like the Padleys before them, and Anne Eyre married Sir Thomas Fitzherbert in 1534. Sir Thomas gave Padley to his younger bother John. Both Fitzherberts were staunch Catholics. Thomas spent 32 years in prison for his beliefs, dying in 1591, a year after his brother, who also died in prison.

The entire household at Padley Manor was arrested with the 2 Catholic priests. The manor was seized and passed through several owners before returning to Fitzherbert hands. In 1649 William Fitzherbert inherited Padley, but he was not long to enjoy his inheritance. Heavy fines for recusancy combined with family debts, forced William to sell Padley once more.

It seems that the house was never lived in after this point. All but the gatehouse was pulled down and the stone sold for building material. The formerly grand gatehouse was used as a hay barn and cow byre.

Things changed in 1892 with the first Pilgrimage to Padley. The Pilgrimage has become an annual event, and proved very popular. In 1931 the gatehouse and some adjoining property was purchased by the Diocese of Nottingham. The chapel was restored and consecrated as a chapel.

It is open regularly during the summer months and for heritage open days. Even when the chapel is not open you can still explore the exterior and the ruins of the manor house beyond. It's a fascinating historic building the interior is like a large hall, with a ladder leading to a loft, or gallery, at one end.

In the loft is the original stone altar, found buried in the garden and now forming the centrepiece of the newly consecrated chapel. Near the altar are stained glass windows commemorating members of the Fitzherbert family, who suffered so much under Catholic recusancy laws.

From the gallery you can get a good look at some of the beautifully preserved wooden angel figures that support the timber roof. On the far wall, opposite the main entrance to the Chapel, is a large window with glass panels depicting the capture and subsequent execution of Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam.

More Photos

Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.

About Padley Chapel
Address: Grindleford, Derbyshire, England, S32 2JA
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Park near Grindleford Station and walk up the road past the station as it leads through Padley to the Chapel.
Website: Padley Chapel
Location map
OS: SK248789
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express

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San Geronimo de Taos -- Spanish Colonial Missions of the Southwest Travel Itinerary

Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.

Photo by wfeiden. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Taos Pueblo is situated in the Taos Valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, an hour and half northwest of Santa Fe. The multi-storied adobe pueblo, which rises on both sides of Rio Pueblo de Taos, seems to embody the tenacity of the Puebloan people in successfully adapting to the centuries of change in their natural and cultural landscape. Continuously occupied for over 1000 years Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American pueblo that is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. The mission churches are just one of the many historical and cultural features that make Taos Pueblo a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. The ruin of Mission San Geronimo and the rebuilt church are physical reminders of the turbulent history of the pueblo and the resilience of the Taos people.

Ruins of the old mission that was bombarded by cannons.

Photo by Elisa.rolle. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

San Geronimo de Taos

The 1850 church is still a part of the community today.

Photo by Robert Wilson. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

What you can see today

Plan Your Visit

Taos Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark and a World Heritage Site located at 120 Veterans Highway in Taos, NM. Click here for Taos Pueblo’s National Historic Landmark file: text and photos. The Pueblo, which is owned and administered by the Taos Tribal Council, is open to visitors daily from 8:00am to 4:30pm except during times that tribal rituals require its closing. For more information, visit the Taos Pueblo website or call Taos Pueblo Tourism at 575-758-1028 before visiting to confirm open hours.
Taos Pueblo has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey as have the ruins of the original San Geronimo Church. Taos Pueblo is also featured in the National Park Service American Southwest Travel Itinerary and in the American Latino Heritage Travel Itinerary.


Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.


The Monastic Sites of Glendalough

In the latter part of the sixth century, St. Kevin crossed the mountains from Hollywood to Glendalough. Within 100 years, the area had developed from a remote hermitage into one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. The monastery continued to flourish after St. Kevin’s death in 617 A.D.

By the end of the eighth century, the monastery employed up to 1000 laypeople to help grow crops and tend livestock. Monasteries were wealthy. In addition to stores of treasure, most monasteries maintained substantial stocks of food and were able to survive periodic famines. Such rich sites were often plundered. Glendalough’s remote location made it an easy target, and between 775 and 1095 it was plundered many times by both local tribes and Norse invaders. Usually the churches and houses were burned, but each time the monastery was rebuilt.

The eventual decline of Glendalough’s monastery was not due to invaders, but rather to a shift in political power. When Glendalough was annexed to the diocese of Dublin in 1152, its importance declined. Despite this, the place has retained a spiritual significance.

Glendalough’s Monastic Sites

Today the ruins of the ancient monastic site are scattered throughout the valley. Many are almost 1000 years old. The main sites are located in the area known as the Monastic City, beside the OPW Visitor Centre. Guided tours are available. Further afield are the ruins of other churches, extending from St. Saviour’s Church in the far east of the valley, to Temple na Skellig beside the Upper Lake.

All the monastic ruins in Glendalough are managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and are not under the auspices of the National Park. Queries about the monastic site should be directed to OPW. Entrance to all the historic sites is free of charge. All sites are open at all times. The Monastic City is also served by the adjacent OPW Visitor Centre which has an exhibition, an audio-visual show and also provides guided tours. An admission charge applies to the Visitor Centre and for the tours. Due to the archaeological nature of the sites, none of them are accessible to wheelchairs.

The Monastic City

The Monastic City is the name given to the main monastic site at the eastern end of the valley, close to the OPW Visitor Centre and the Glendalough Hotel. The following monuments can be seen in the Monastic City.

The Gateway

This building stands at the entrance to the Monastic City, and is perhaps one of the most important monuments as it is now unique in Ireland. The building was originally two-storeyed, probably with a timber roof. Inside on the west wall, is a cross-inscribed stone. Visitors entering the Monastic City from the road still pass through this ancient entrance, walking on some of the original stone paving.

The Round Tower

Perhaps the most noticeable monument, the Round Tower is about 30 metres high. The entrance is about 3.5 metres from the base. Originally there were six wooden floors with ladders. The roof had fallen in many years ago, but was rebuilt in 1876 using the original stone. Round towers were multi-functional. They served as landmarks for visitors, bell-towers, store-houses, and as places of refuge in times of attack.

The Cathedral

This is the largest of the churches, and was constructed in several phases. Of note, are an aumbry or wall cupboard under the southern window, and a piscina – a basin used for washing sacred vessels. Outside the Cathedral is St. Kevin’s Cross – a large early granite cross with an unpierced ring.

The Priest’s House

This is a small Romanesque building which was almost totally reconstructed using the original stones in 1779. The east end has a decorative arch. The original purpose of the building is unknown, but it may have been used to house the relics of St. Kevin. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was used as a place to inter priests.

St. Kevin’s Kitchen

This church is most noticeable for its steep roof formed of overlapping stone, supported internally by a semi-circular vault. The belfry has a stone cap and four windows facing north, south, east and west, and is reminiscent of a round tower.

St. Kieran’s Church

Only low walls of this church remain. It was uncovered in 1875, and probably commemorates the founder of Clonmacnoise, a monastic settlement that had associations with Glendalough during the 10th century.

Other Monastic Sites near the Monastic City

St. Mary’s Church

Also called Our Lady’s Church, this is one of the earliest churches. It consists of a nave and chancel. The granite west doorway has an architrave, inclined jambs, and a massive lintel. The underside of the lintel has an inscription of an unusual X-shaped cross. The round-topped east window has two very worn carved heads on the outside. St. Mary’s Church is located in a field to the west of the Monastic City.

St. Saviour’s Church

This is the youngest of the Glendalough churches. It was built in the 12th century. The nave and chancel have many well decorated stones. The Romanesque chancel arch has three tiers of decoration. The east window is decorated with various carvings including a serpent, a lion, and two birds holding a human head between their beaks. An adjoining domestic building has a staircase that would have led to a room over the chancel. St. Saviour’s Church is located on the Green Road approximately 1 km east of the Monastic City.

Trinity Church

This is a simple nave and chancel church. A door in the west gable leads to a later annex, possibly a sacristy. There was a belfry in the style of a round tower, but it collapsed in a storm in 1818. Trinity Church is located beside the main road just east of the Visitor Centre.

Upper Lake Historical Sites

Reefert Church

The remains of Reefert Church are situated in a woodland setting, on the south-eastern shore of the Upper Lake close to the Information Office. Reefert derives its name from the Irish ‘Righ Fearta’ meaning burial place of the kings (referring to the local rulers – the O’Toole family). It dates from the eleventh century and is likely to have been built on the site of an earlier church. The church and graveyard were originally surrounded by a stone wall enclosure known in Gaelic as a ‘caiseal’. Most of the present surrounding walls however are modern. The upper parts of the church walls were re-built over 100 years ago using the original stones.

The Caher

This archaeological monument is found on the lawns beside the Upper Lake in Glendalough. It is a stone walled circular enclosure, measuring 20 meters in diameter. It’s original purpose and time of construction is a mystery. Similar structures can be found around the country but they were built on a much larger scale for use as defensive forts. The Caher in Glendalough is likely to be have been used as a station (stopping point for prayers) for those on pilgrimage across the mountains to the remains of St. Kevin’s monastery.

Various Crosses

The lawns by the Upper Lake are the location of several stone crosses. They may have been used as stations during pilgrimages to Glendalough.

Temple na Skellig

The ruins of this small church are located at the base of the cliffs on the southern shore of the Upper Lake. The site is not safely accessible to visitors, but may be viewed from the Miners’ Road, across the lake. West of the church is a raised platform with stone enclosure walls, where dwelling huts probably stood. The church was partly rebuilt in the 12th century.

St. Kevin’s Bed

St. Kevin’s Bed is a small cave in the cliff to the east of Temple ne Skellig. The entrance is about 8 metres above the lake. Please note that the site is not safely accessible, and has been the site of many serious accidents. It may be viewed from the Miner’s Road, across the lake. The cave runs back two metres into the cliff and was reputedly a retreat for St. Kevin and later for St. Laurence O’Toole.

St. Kevin’s Cell

Originally a small bee-hive hut, today only a circle of base stones remain to mark its location on a rocky spur over the Upper Lake.

Opening Times

National Park Headquarters: the headquarters is open Monday to Friday during office hours. The Duty Ranger is available Monday to Sunday during office hours.

National Park Education Centre: Currently closed due to Covid-19.

National Park Information Office: Currently closed due to Covid-19.

Contact Info

Wicklow Mountains National Park,
Kilafin, Laragh, via Bray, Co. Wicklow A98 K286


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