Quite modest in size and nonetheless with a reputation to compensate, the Isle of Iona is one of the Inner Hebrides and is located in close proximity to the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of mainland Scotland. This tiny island has got a great religious significance, as it was the place where Christianity originated in Scotland. It was there that Saint Columba (who nowadays, unfortunately, is by far more famous for having reported seeing the Loch Ness monster) landed in 563 and founded the very first Scottish monastery, which is now an ecumenical church by the name of Iona Abbey. At that time, Christianity was still unknown to Scotland and spirituality still manifested itself in the form on druidic rituals and paganism. Since those days it has remained a spiritual refuge and a conspicuously religious place and that atmosphere has been successfully preserved.
The main attraction, needless to say, is Iona Abbey, which in itself is a monument of resilience. Two Celtic crosses, centuries old, are to be seen there as well, St Martin’s Cross and St John’s cross, and also a replica of the latter. Moreover, on its grounds many kings have found their final resting place, including the very first king of Scotland, Kenneth the 1st. The ruins of a nunnery can also be seen close by, and although it is thought to have been an impressive construction, rebuilding it was impossible. The island’s community is small and compact, yet leads a more peaceful life than many people have the chance nowadays.