Are there Vikings in Iceland

Iceland: Island of the Vikings

With the Viking Ingólfur Arnason, Iceland began to be colonized by the Vikings. Source: www.sandatlas.org

It all started with the Norwegian Viking Ingólfur Arnason. He consciously left his homeland to settle in Iceland. He built his farm in the southwest of the island and named the area Reykjavik - Smoky Bay. That is the name of the Icelandic capital today. More and more Vikings came from Scandinavia and settled in Iceland. The so-called conquest of the land lasted from 874 to 930 - the period from the first settlement to the founding of the Althing, which is still the oldest parliament in the world.

Sagas from the settlement period

The ethnic mix of the settlers was also reflected in its own language. Icelandic developed mainly from Norwegian and Celtic elements. This can still be recognized today by the fact that there are old rune signs in Icelandic that point far into the past. Icelanders are very proud of their history. Every child in Iceland knows the old stories from the settlement period - the sagas.

Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes

Geologically speaking, Iceland is still in its infancy. Only about 20 million years ago - and that is very late in geological development - volcanoes at the bottom of the North Atlantic began to spew lava and thus laid the foundations of what would later become the island. Iceland is still one of the most volcanically active areas on earth. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have been part of everyday life for Icelanders for centuries.

Iceland is growing

This is because Iceland is located exactly at the junction of two tectonic plates. In the west the American plate, in the east the European plate. The plates drift apart an inch each year. At the seam (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) new rock emerges in the form of lava. Thus, Iceland is growing by two centimeters every year and the oldest parts of the island are in the northwest and southeast of the island - a result of plate tectonics.

Glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs

Tourists also come to Iceland primarily for its natural wonders. Mighty waterfalls and desert highlands, green mountains and black beaches, majestic glaciers and hot springs. Rarely is the diversity of landscapes combined in such a small area. Not to forget the rich bird life and the famous Icelandic horses, a robust breed that was brought into the country by the Vikings more than 1000 years ago. It was also the horses that remained the only means of transport until well into the 20th century. In many areas it was and is still hardly possible to get around with a vehicle.

About trolls and elves

The Vikings also ensured that mythology played an important role in Iceland. There is no other country in Europe where the belief in elves, trolls and other eerie mythical creatures is so pronounced. Even if it sounds crazy: Even when building streets and houses, the alleged dwellings of elves are respected and even protected by the state.

Alternative energy generation

History and tradition are indisputably of great importance in Iceland. But in the 20th century Iceland developed rapidly into a modern industrial nation. Today Iceland, with a population of only 280,000, has one of the highest standards of living in the world. When it comes to alternative energy use, Icelanders are among the pioneers worldwide. Geothermal sources already cover 85 percent of the Icelanders' heating consumption and ensure bathing fun in the great outdoors all year round.