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Week 2 - W/c 11th January 2021

Thingvellir ( Þingvellir ) National Park in western Iceland from drone Phantom 4

Valley Thingvellir (Þingvellir) has enormous historical importance for Iceland. In the 930 years it took place here the first meeting of the Icelandic parliament - the Althing, which is one of the oldest parliamentary institutions of the world, who sit today. The name refers to the location of the event Thing - assembly Vellir - valley.

Althing was held here until the end of VXIII century. Also in this place June 17, 1944 it was announced the full independence of the Republic of Iceland. Currently, MPs sitting every day in Reykjavik moving on holidays just to Thingvellir.

The original settlers of Iceland, mainly exiles from the Scandinavian countries had enough of governments kings or earls. On top of that they liked to put on her, which often ended in bloodshed. To solve this problem, earnestly sought for the place that will be able to accommodate the thousands of people, cattle, and ensured good acoustics. This place has just been found in the valley Oxary on the northern shore of the biggest lake in Iceland Thingvallavatn.

Walking nearby canyon Almannagja, we come to the marked Icelandic flag Logberg rock (rock 'rights), which called for opening the session of the parliament. It was also the place where he officiated, ie. Preacher of the law, a person familiar with the law and all the rules and customs prevailing in Iceland and the place of office Logretta - elders coming from individual municipalities.

Apart from the establishment of new rights, success of implementation of new regulations, made also the courts and in the nearby villages made judgments. Women drowned, and the guilty men were removed from the law. If the convict did not immediately leave the island, and in those days it was very difficult to wait his death very often brutally (how the condemned man dying because depend on the imagination torturers).

Thingvellir National Park

It is at Thingvellir, Iceland agreed to accept Christianity. After a stormy meetings pagan preacher law Thorgeir Þorkelsson persuaded gathered to amend an existing religion. There is also one of the oldest churches on the island - Þingvallakirkja. Although the first temple was built in this place already x XI., Today, you can see a building dating from 1859 years. Inside are legendary Bell Iceland from previous churches, immortalized in the novel by Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness, antique pulpit of the seventeenth century, one of the oldest bible Icelandic and altar 1834. At the local cemetery they are buried locals priests and poets.

The park laid out a number of hiking trails. One of them leads to the farm þingvallabaer, designed by architect Guðjón Samuelsson, which was built to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the parliament. He currently serves as the office park ranger and is a summerhouse, Prime Minister of the country.

In Thingvellir is also a gap which is the boundary between two tectonic plates: the Eurasian and North American.

Here, too, it is the largest lake located on an island Thingvallavatn, with an area of ​​83.7 km2 and a depth of up to 114m. The bottom of the lake is unstable, earthquakes cause raising or lowering the level of flowing to the size of the lake.

Despite the very low temperatures, created in 1928 Thingvellir National Park, characterized by a rich flora and fauna. There is here more than 150 species of plants, approx. 50 species of invertebrates and many species of fish, including trout. The lake is popular with anglers, but before fishing it is necessary to purchase a permit.

In 2004 Thingvellir National Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.