Þingvellir National Park – A Geologic & Historical Marvel
There are few sites in the world with a history as compelling as Thingvellir combined with striking geologic formations. It’s a true marvel. And the UN agreed, designating it the only UNESCO World Heritage site on mainland Iceland.
Although it’s one of the most visited sites in Iceland, many people don’t fully realize the fascinating science behind the area’s tectonics and the truly unique landscape that it creates. Likewise few are treated to the captivating stories hidden behind its lakes, sheer cliff faces, deep pools and the snaking Öxará river.
Iceland’s position straddling the Mid-Atlantic ridge means that the county’s landscape is characterized by tectonic formations. And nowhere in Iceland can you better witness the effects of the Earth’s tectonic shifts than at Thingvellir. The rift valley with its jagged cracks and faults is a visible record of the continental drift between the Eurasian and North American plates.
Landmark for the Ages
Thingvellir was the original site of Iceland’s ancient parliament, the Althing founded in 930 AD, and over the centuries since the island’s settlement, it has been the site of some of Iceland’s most crucial moments. From the adoption of Christianity in 1000 AD to the nation’s millennial anniversary in 1930, Iceland has come to Thingvellir to make its turning points.
From chilling accounts of Viking-age justice and blood feuds to legendary tales of cunning and intrigue, the plains come to life when Thingvellir’s best-loved stories are told. Just hearing some of the place names around Thingvellir give you an idea of what waits in store: Drowning Pool, Gallows Rock, Burning Gorge and Sand Banks of Slaughter.
We like to offer our guests a fuller experience of this tremendous site, both its geologic marvels and the rivering history. Contact us to learn more about how we can introduce you to the wonders of Thingvellir.
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