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Photo gallery
Chapel at N˙pssta­ur FrÝkirkjan at night  Langabu­ at  Dj˙pivogur City Hall Folk museum H÷fn


Iceland was first settled in the 9th century by Vikings from Norway. The tour guides will tell you that Ingˇlfur, who was one of the first to arrive, threw logs into the sea. Where they landed he founded ReykjavÝk. These early pioneers lived in turf houses which continued as basic accommodation until as late as the 1950s. In the 14th century Iceland came under Danish rule until gaining independence in 1944. In the 18th and 19th centuries, wooden houses were imported from Scandinavia, many of which have been restored and can be seen in fishing villages around the country. 

Christianity played an important r˘le and most settlements and farms have pretty wooden churches. The Prayer House at N˙pssta­ur is much visited as it was in earlier times when travellers went to pray for safe passage across the dangerous Skei­arßrsandur. Much of Iceland’s building heritage has been restored and recreated at the ┴rbŠr Museum in ReykjavÝk.

Today, Iceland has a population of ~300,000 the majority of whom live in the Greater ReykjavÝk area. In the capital, traditional building styles blend with cutting-edge modern architecture, perhaps best represented by the award winning City Hall (Rß­h˙s)

Turf houses at Skˇgar

Iceland’s buildings, churches & turf houses