Kirkwall is an isolated town that has maintained its medieval character, especially in its well kept town center. Founded in the early 11th century, it is one of the best examples of an ancient Norse town. The heart of Kirkwall is St. Magnus Cathedral, an incredible red structure with an impressive interior. It is one of the world’s only churches with a Viking longship on the altar. The church has been altered several times over the course of 300 years, and therefore includes Romanesque and Gothic styles. Near the cathedral are two ruined palaces – Earl’s Palace and Bishop’s Palace – which are considered sandstone treasures. The better one is Earl’s Palace, once considered to be the finest example of Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Bishop’s Palace offers great views of St. Magnus Cathedral. Orkney Museum is a restored merchant’s house that details the town’s history dating back to the first settles more than 5,000 years ago. Kirkwall is also home to the Highland Park Distillery, believed to be the world’s northernmost whisky distillery. Every June the town comes alive for the St. Magnus Festival that features classical music and poetry. In 2006 the first MagFest was held, a younger version of the festival featuring Scottish rock bands.