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Chapel at Núpsstađur Fríkirkjan at night  Langabuđ at  Djúpivogur City Hall Folk museum Höfn


Iceland was first settled in the 9th century by Vikings from Norway. The tour guides will tell you that Ingólfur, who was one of the first to arrive, threw logs into the sea. Where they landed he founded Reykjavík. 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 rôle and most settlements and farms have pretty wooden churches. The Prayer House at Núpsstađur is much visited as it was in earlier times when travellers went to pray for safe passage across the dangerous Skeiđarársandur. Much of Iceland’s building heritage has been restored and recreated at the Árbćr Museum in Reykjavík.

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

Turf houses at Skógar

Iceland’s buildings, churches & turf houses