Kirkwall is the main town of the island of Mainland, the largest of the Scottish Orkneys, and has 6,330 inhabitants. The city is situated on an isthmus between East and West Mainland. From here ferries lead to most of the islands of the northern Orkney.


The name of Kirkwall is of Scandinavian origin. The name was originally Kirkvoe or " Kirkjuvagr " which means as much as " Church Bay ". Already in the early 11th century, there was a church, which was dedicated Olav II Haraldsson.


Earl Rognvald Brusason shared the Earltum for eight years with Thorfinn Sigurdsson ( the Mighty ), the Brough of Birsay had on his seat and killed him in 1046 AD on Papa Stronsay. In the same year Kirkwall is first mentioned as a market town. In 1137 is started at the instigation of the Earl Rognvald Koli Kolsson with the building of St Magnus Cathedral, which today dominates the cityscape. It was not until 1468 Kirkwall was Scottish, as James III. (Scotland ) Orkney acquired. In the following century it was the administrative center for the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

1811 began with the expansion of the natural harbor. In the 1990s, the main pier was extended in 2003 dredged the fairway. The Orkney Museum was as a tanker Ness House is a town house of Orkney nobility.

In and around Kirkwall are the northernmost whiskey distilleries in Scotland, Highland Park and Scapa.

Turn of the year in Kirkwall and Stromness going back to pagan tradition Ba'Games be played.

Climate and images

St. Magnus