He left his Desk….and went to War. One of a great many.
100 years ago.
(C) David Oakes 2018
(C) David Oakes 2018
Not the biggest of Scotland Cathedrals or Abbeys but none the less still a ruin of some charm. Many folk pass on the main road through Fortrose not realising that within a few yards there is this 13th century Cathedral. Situated on a compact enclosed green area and surrounded by houses, mostly built of Red Sandstone to match the ruins, it becomes a little gem.
Although it was constructed in the 13th century, like most Religious buildings, it perhaps has its religious origins from an earlier location close by. It is suggested that this was Rosemarkie and Chanory, just a stones throw from Fortrose. Sadly like so many of our ancient Religious buildings they suffered under some misguided leader, in this instance it was Oliver Cromwell in the mid 17th century who ordered to its demolition.
Standing roofless, all that remains is the needle like Bell Tower, Chapter House and Nave’s. But there is still enough of the building to admire its architectural style and craftsmanship, the arched windows and pillared doorway and Porch hint at the buildings original style.
As I suggested, Fortrose Cathedral is not as dramatic as many of its contemporary structures, but what it lacks in drama is made up by its charm, its rich colour and its rather fine, quiet location. Well worth a detour if in the Moray Firth Area and anywhere near the Black Isle, the Black Isle itself a charming and often overlooked area by tourists.
As for the clock on the Bell Tower….obviously not 13th century, nor would it have been there when Cromwell plundered the Cathedral… as to when it was installed I haven’t a clue
(C) David Oakes 2018
It is understandable a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its origins go back to before the 8th century BC. To say it has had a chequered history is perhaps an understatement and after much religious turmoil it is rather surprising that anything remains. Most of the Palace you see today is based upon the Castilian construction of the mid 1300AD. But much of the foundations are upon the much earlier Abbadid Muslim Residential Palace and Fortress.
But Alcazar is in fact more then one Palace, several are seamlessly inter-linked.
The Architecture incorporates much of the Mudejar style and design. The stonework is creative and skilful in its execution in places replicating intricate Lace work, in others much more like stalactites from a cave. The colour will also leave an impression, all heavy and vibrant, Ochre, Yellow, Red , Blue and of course Gold. The tiles themselves are yet another art form to be admired… they are much more than a decorative feature but tell a religious Muslim story. It is though the ceilings that are so spectacular, the rich gold and jewels reflecting light to the darker interior.
Alcazar is till used as a Royal Palace by the Spanish Royal Family, so occasionally there are visitor restrictions. At other times you will find it very busy but not unpleasantly so. The best advice is to book your tickets in advance top avoid the long queues and if you can, join a guided tour to maximise your visit.
30th September 2018
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