“Skellig Michael (Irish: Sceilig Mhichíl), or Great Skellig (Irish: Sceilig Mhór), is an island (the larger of the two Skellig Islands) in the Atlantic Ocean, 11.6 km west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century, and was continuously occupied until its abandonment in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, along with most of the island itself, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Skellig Michael was uninhabited prior to the foundation of its monastery. Folklore holds that Ir, son of Míl Espáine, was buried on the island, and a text from the 8th or 9th century states that Duagh, King of West Munster, fled to “Scellecc” after a feud with the Kings of Cashel, although it is not known whether these events actually took place.
The monastic site on the island is located on a terraced shelf 600 feet above sea-level, and developed between the sixth and eighth century. It contains six beehive cells, two oratories as well as a number of stone crosses and slabs. It also contains a later medieval church. The cells and oratories are all of dry-built corbel construction. A carefully designed system for collecting and purifying water in cisterns was developed. It has been estimated that no more than twelve monks and an abbot lived here at any one time. A hermitage is located on the south peak.”
PALMYRA (also known as Tadmor) is mentioned frequently in the news, as the so-called Islamic State is advancing on this ancient gem of a ruined city in Syria. The formerly prosperous metropolis of Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with good reason. From 44 BCE -272 CE, the city became a wealthy trade centre at the crossroads between Roman, Greek, and Persian cultures.
Located in an oasis in the Syrian desert along key trade routes across the ancient world, it was an important hub for trade, and many caravans passed through this city, increasing its wealth. Its architecture and arts reflects the mix of styles and economic wealth.
Medieval sites in Sicily, Korea and Turkey were among those
selected to be added to UNESCO World Heritage list this week. During
meetings held at Bonn, Germany, over 20 sites from around the world were
added to the list, which now stands at over 1,000 landmarks and areas.
The most prominent medieval site added this year is Arab-Norman Palermo
and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale on the island of
Sicily. The entry was made up of nine buildings, including churches and
palaces, which were built during the 12th century when the island
kingdom was ruled by the Normans.
The Umm Ishrin formation is a fascinating and famous geological unit, although it is likely most famous because of the way people have cut it. The ancient city of Petra in Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage site visited by about a million people per year, is cut into this sandstone.