Category: medieval

Jarlshof, Shetland

This site is quite special due to the
fact that it has been occupied for over 4000 years and still retains
remnants and features from each period, starting with the Early Bronze
Age, 2500 BC. There is an Iron Age broch, part of which has been washed
away by the sea. There are wheelhouses, which are unique to the Northern
and Western Isles of Scotland. Inside, wooden beams have been replaced
with stone due to the lack of timber on Shetland, which gives them their
unique character. There are Viking farm houses from the 9th Century
well into the Middle Ages, when settlers from Norway would come in large
numbers to Shetland. And then there’s the ‘Laird’s House’, dating from
the 17th Century, built by the Earl of Shetland and Orkney, after
Shetland had fallen into Scottish hands. Interestingly, just as with
Skara Brae on Orkney, the site was discovered by the land owner after a
heavy storm, who then excavated it. Today, it is maintained by Historic
Environment Scotland. The name Jarlshof itself comes from the novel ‘The Pirate’ (1822) by Sir Walter Scott, who wrote it after visiting the ruins, which were then known as ‘Sumburgh House’. A must see if you’re visiting Shetland!

A tour of Jarlshof is up on my channel!

Bautzen, Germany

This colourful town was traditionally inhabited by the Sorbs, a Slavic people, and though they have declined in numbers, many still live in this region (as well as the Spreewald region to the North) and keep traditional customs alive. There is a Sorbian museum you can visit if you want to know more about them (which is the reason why we stopped by), but overall they have also contributed to the slightly unusual appearance of the town architecture. 

Bastei, Saxon Switzerland, Germany | Basteibrücke, Sächsische Schweiz

This is probably the most famous rock-formation and main tourist attraction in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. In 1851 this stone bridge was build to replace the previous wooden one from 1824, however, there has been human activity here long before that. The bridge leads to Neurathen Castle, the largest rock castle known in the region. It was first mentioned in documents in 1289 but fell into disuse after the medieval period. Now,

the wooden constructions have disappeared and only some of the carved rooms and passages remain, including the cistern. This rock-formation has a great view over the river Elbe, which flows on the plains below and gives the region its name, ‘Elbe Sandstone Mountains’. 

Königstein Fortess, Saxony, Germany

This fortress was built into the rock it is standing on, the name literally meaning ‘king’s rock’. The original core dates to the 13th Century and after it changed hands multiple times it was re-constructed in the 17th Century, a lot of which still remains. It often served as a secure refuge for local rulers due to its strategic advantage and has never been conquered. It also served as a prison during the two world wars and is today a museum. 

Abernethy Round Tower and Museum Doors Open Day

This tower is one of two towers of the Irish Celtic type remaining in Scotland. It was likely built in the later 11th Century. The ground around the tower has been raised more recently and in the past there would have been a rope ladder leading up to the door, which could be pulled up to protect the people inside in case of an attack. The village of Abernethy was once the centre of a Pictish kingdom, who used the nearby Iron Age hill-fort ‘Castle Law’, which you can see from the top of the tower. Later on it was the seat of the Celtic Bishopric. Leaning against the tower is a Pictish stone and next to it hangs an iron collar, which was used to publicly shame people for wrong-doings. 

Abernethy Round Tower and Museum Doors Open Day

This tower is one of two towers of the Irish Celtic type remaining in Scotland. It was likely built in the later 11th Century. The ground around the tower has been raised more recently and in the past there would have been a rope ladder leading up to the door, which could be pulled up to protect the people inside in case of an attack. The village of Abernethy was once the centre of a Pictish kingdom, who used the nearby Iron Age hill-fort ‘Castle Law’, which you can see from the top of the tower. Later on it was the seat of the Celtic Bishopric. Leaning against the tower is a Pictish stone and next to it hangs an iron collar, which was used to publicly shame people for wrong-doings. 

Cross Kirk, Peebles, Scottish Borders. 

Medieval Church built on a 13th Century pilgrimage site which was visited by King Alexander III, one of the oldest remaining buildings in Peebles. 

Melrose Abbey