Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

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The City of Chains

The 70 islands of Orkney are low lying, a pleasing, gently rolling panorama of fertile fields, heather cloaked moors, and lakes.

The red sandstone walls of the imposing St. Magnus Cathedral dominate Kirkwall, the main town, capital, and hub for roads linking east and west.

In summer whales and dolphins sport in coastal waters, and tens of thousands of breeding seabirds congregate on sharp seaside cliffs.

The early arrival of mankind on this scene can be investigated at Skara Brae, an amazingly well preserved Neolithic village that was inhabited and already abandoned more than 5,000 years ago.

MERCAT CROSS

MERCAT CROSS

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MERCAT CROSS

MERCAT CROSS

Dating from 1621, the Cross was used to make verbal contracts binding in an age when it was difficult to prepare written agreements. A central place of communications for the community, it is also the site where public proclamations were made.

ST. MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

ST. MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

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ST. MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

ST. MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

Norse Earl Rognvald Kolson commenced construction on the cathedral in 1137 in memory of his uncle Saint Magnus. Today, the magnificent Viking structure dominates the skyline for many miles and is one of the finest and best preserved medieval cathedrals in Scotland.

EARL’S PALACE

EARL’S PALACE

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EARL’S PALACE

EARL’S PALACE

Built by Earl Patrick Stewart, the palace is one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Specifically, interesting features include the carved decoration and the oriel windows. The great hall is considered one of the noblest state rooms of any castle in the kingdom.

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Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland At a glance

Current Weather:
3°C / 37 °F
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Current Time:
1:34:26 pm2015/03/31 13:34:26 pm
BST
Tuesday, March 31
Offset:
UTC/GMT +01:00
Currency:
British Pound
Exchange Rates:
  • 1.48
  • 1.89
  • 1.94
  • 1.38
  • 92.37
  • 4.82
  • 22.67
  • 1.98
Local Details:
GPS: 58°59'4.83"N 2°57'44.1"W
Population: 8,686
Country Code: +44

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