The tiny island of Iona has been a vibrant centre of Christian worship since Columba arrived in AD 563. His monastery thrived for centuries, despite repeated Viking raids beginning in 795. Around 1200, the abbey and nunnery were founded, introducing new forms of worship and new buildings, while still welcoming pilgrims to St Columba's shrine.
Even after the Protestant Reformation of 1560 brought an end to Scotland's monasteries, Iona served briefly as a Cathedral of the Isles. Restoration of the buildings began in 1899, and in 1938 the Iona Community was formed, revitalising the abbey's spiritual role. This unique site bears witness to a long history of religious practice that still flourishes today.