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Kirkwall/Orkney's Top 5

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Maeshowe Visitor Centre (at Stenness, Ireland Rd, Stennes, Stromness KW16 3LB, UK
The Orkneys have a piece of prehistoric engineering every bit as impressive as Stonehenge. A 7.3-meter-high (24-foot-high) burial mound, dating to about 2800 B.C.E., covers a chambered cairn constructed with gigantic stones. When Vikings arrived...
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28-36 Victoria St, Stromness KW16 3AA, UK
Most major Scottish island chains now feature a modern arts center but Orkney's Pier Arts Centre is a little different. It fills many roles—from gallery space to bookshop to events venue—in the town of Stromness, about 22 kilometers (14 miles)...
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B9055, Stromness KW16 3JZ, UK
Near the Maeshowe chambered tomb are standing stone circles first erected sometime between 2500 and 2000 B.C.E., possibly for use in Neolithic ceremonies. The stones at Stenness are a bit older (dating to 3400 B.C.E.) than those nearby at the Ring...
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Sandwick, Stromness KW16 3LR, UK
On the principal Orkney island, some 30 miles from the north coast of mainland Scotland, sits the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe. From 3000 to 2400 B.C.E.—long before Stonehenge or even the Egyptian pyramids—Skara Brae was a...
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Broad St, Kirkwall KW15 1NX, UK
It may not be surprising that one of the few medieval cathedrals to survive the enthusiastic cultural cleansing of the Reformation would be on a fairly remote island. Unfortunately, many of the relics did not survive as well as the architecture...