Founded by the Viking Earl Rognvald in 1137, the Kirkwall Cathedral St Magnus is the most Northerly cathedral in the UK. Known as the 'Light of the North', its particularities are the use of local red sandstone and colorful stained glass windows.
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Kirkwall Cathedral St Magnus - Video
Let's start with a short video to give you an idea of this magnificent building:
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - St Magnus Kirkwall Cathedral
The St Magnus Kirkwall Cathedral is often described as "one of the finest and best preserved medieval cathedrals in Scotland". Do not miss what is considered one of the top thing to do in Orkney.
Kirkwall Cathedral View from the People's Palace
The St Magnus Cathedral dominates the Skyline in Kirkwall. The best place to admire it in its entirety is from the top of the Bishop Palace Tower.
A narrow staircase takes you to platform from which you can admire the cathedral from the side. Its red color is really striking.
Kirwall Cathedral Facts
- Constructions started in 1137. it was eexpanded in 1192 and enlarged in the 1400s
- It is dedicated to St Magnus, an Earl of Orkney who was murdered by his cousin - You can learn more about its history on Undiscover Scotland
- The attractiveness of the building is party due to the alternative use of red and yellow sandstones.
- The red sandstone is from the Head of Holland North of Kirkwall
- The Yellow sandstones is believed to be from Eday, one of the Northern isles of Orkney.
- A lot of the exterior stonework is from the medieval era
- It is the most northerly cathedral in the UK
Exterior of St Magnus Cathedral Kirkwall
From the outside, have a look at the red and yellow sandstones especially above the doors.
The Frontal facade is quite austere but on the day I visited, there was the exposition with poppies set up at the entrance.
Below is a close up of one of the doorways for you to admire the fine work of alternating red and yellow sandstones.
As you get inside the cathedral, the red sandstone appears pink:
Inside the Kirkwall Cathedral
The inside is quite impressive. The nave is tall and narrow so it looks a lot bigger than it is when you look from the outside.
The ceiling of the side corridors are also fascinating. There is an interesting atmosphere in this Cathedral, probably due to the small windows and narrow nave.
Stained glass at St Magnus Kirkwall Cathedral
The Stained glasses windows in the Kirkwall Cathedral are very colorful, some with modern colors and style.
Sculptures in the Kirkwall Cathedral
Statues and relics are displayed all aorund the Kirkwall Cathedral:
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