It looked exactly as it did more than a century ago. In addition, the Vikings had a complex society with elaborate rituals and social hierarchy. Experience it for yourself by dressing up as a Norse warrior at Mink Viking Portrait Studio (sessions from 10,900 ISK; mink.is). One of the most moving artifacts of the  National Museum of Iceland is the skeleton of a tiny infant from the pagan viking age embedded in the floor of the museum. ... (a neighboring town of Reykjavík) showcases Viking culture with traditional cuisine, archery, handicrafts, games, and music. All rights reserved. Another noteworthy museum for those who are keen on Viking history and Icelandic origins should visit the  Reykjavík 871 +/-2 – The Settlement Museum. amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "stuck04-20"; The Icelandic National Museum is an unassuming place but in some way it manages to display its artifacts in a way that tell the story of the peculiar and remote island country Iceland from its Viking age origins to modern times in a captivating way. I suppose it would take pretty many blog posts to fully cover this shrine of Icelandic history and culture and since I  am a certified museum addict you may expect more blog posts about this museum which incidentally celebrates its 150th birthday this year. Ϸingvellir:  Just over the hills from Geysir and Gullfoss, as the crow flies, lies Ϸingvellir. Firstly I want to mention the Viking age equivalent of chess, the so called “hnefatafl” in Icelandic (or old Norse!). Ice-land is the name given by the Vikings to this sub-polar island of ice and glaciers. A Viking Age excavation in East Iceland is revealing a more nuanced history of the settlement of Iceland, involving seasonal settlements, wealthy longhouses, and walrus hunting long before the island was settled permanently. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. His lifelong interests in history, science and culture bring a unique focus and depth to his works. The Icelandic National Museum is close to Reykjavik airport and the city centre. Photo by John Sundsmo. Remote settlements were reunited in trade and culture; young people sought suitable marriage partners and courted; vendors sold everything from cook pots to needles; livestock was traded, and, of course, copious amounts of ale were consumed as friendships renewed. The city is packed with metropolitan delights and is especially strong in the performance arts, from film to theater and dance. Rimmugýgur Viking club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017 with many feasts and I ran into them in many places. Retrouvez Viking Age Iceland (Penguin History) by Byock, Jesse L. (2001) Paperback et des millions de livres en stock sur Amazon.fr. Jul 2, 2015 - Modern day Icelanders have a great deal of pride in their Viking history and heritage. There's even a Viking Festival! amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; At least the relatives of this long dead infant decorated the grave by carefully lining up stones to demarcate the grave. Its intense beauty provides a spiritual connection with unspoiled nature, and a raw visceral connection with the landscape. So, in answer to my question: how did isolated little Iceland with its small bands of distant settlements survive and maintain a democracy for more than 11 centuries? Like the early settlers, Icelanders faced the 2008-2011 worldwide financial crises alone with a small population and few monetary resources. On the wharf in the old harbor of Reykjavik next to the haul-out dry dock, the Maritime Museum is a treasure trove of  wooden ships, models, photos and information about the maritime and fishing history of Iceland. With its labyrinth of defensive walls and moats, magnificent five-spire towers, weather-worn sandstone statues and inspired pyramidal temples, Cambodia’s vast Angkor Wat (“Temple City”) complex isn’t just a proud symbol of national culture, but one of the greatest expressions of ancient architecture ever built. Viking culture was sophisticated and included advanced shipbuilding technology, poetry, metalworking and agriculture. Copyright © 2015-2020 Deep Culture Travel. It is more likely that the Roman coins were part of loot from Britain and brought here by Viking settlers. Icelandic students in Denmark began to import ideas of nationalism and romanticism. Central to their unification was the annual “Althing” (AlϷing) – that huge Summer gathering at Ϸingvellir that ensured that no settlement, no matter how isolated, was forgotten or out of touch. Loyalty and trust were keys in the Viking society and certainly the glue that, together with the judicial system, kept people in line.So for me, the answer to ‘how did they survive’ seemed to be one of cooperation, trade, friendship, loyalty and trust. As I mentioned in the “Brief History of the Icelandic language” episode, Iceland was settled mostly by farmers from Norway along with Vikings and some Celtic people who were made slaves after being captured by those Vikings . Was it lawless survival of the fittest in a hostile land, or did they help each other? In any case, are truly magnificent pieces of art. Due to a recent tourism boom, Iceland has had to import more and more workers. At the Visitors Center in Geysir, I learned that Iceland is an important participant in the historical “Thing Project,” (summarized in a book edited by Olwyn Owen Things in the Viking World). Certainly the Althing was responsible. 8. You can find this iconic building by the river Tejo in Lisbon The former Portuguese explorers set off to their crusades from this location travelme.blue, ig#visiteurope #CreativelyCurious ... See MoreSee Less, With its labyrinth of defensive walls and moats, magnificent five-spire towers, weather-worn sandstone statues and inspired pyramidal temples, Cambodia’s vast Angkor Wat (“Temple City”) complex isn’t just a proud symbol of national culture, but one of the greatest expressions of ancient architecture ever built. Walking along the path next to the gorge, I felt certain it evoked the same sense of awe and wonder for Vikings in 900 AD as it does today for travelers from all over the world. This story is by John Sundsmo, an award-winning travel photographer, journalist,  Ph.D. scientist, and entrepreneur from the San Francisco Bay Area. That culture, in turn, encouraged trading between the settlers and most likely engendered the community spirit that helped them survive in the harsh Icelandic climate. Unlike other tourist destinations, you won’t find gas stations, restaurants and motels/hotels every half-hour of your drive. Hurrah! The shrine of Icelandic culture. I was surprised to meet many people from across the entirety of the European Union. Reykjavík 871 +/-2 – The Settlement Museum. I also came out of the visit with an intense appreciation for the strong independent proud people who live there; i.e., the Icelandic Viking democracy. Photo by John Sundsmo. The Icelandic elite followed the Danes in identifying with a romantic image of a glorious Icelandic … The distances can be deceiving as it is difficult to drive at top speed down many of the winding two lane roads, so allow more time. Apparently because Harald and his son Eric Bloodaxe pursued and killed many in their Faroe Island settlements–north of Scotland–more than 400 miles from Norway. According to the Landnámabók , the first settler in Iceland was Naddodd the Viking (c. 830 CE) who discovered Iceland when he was blown off course en route to the Faeroe Islands. amzn_assoc_linkid = "948a7fca6f9dc19fec94a054eaa5ba2d"; This is one of the three replicas of viking age burial sites (or “kuml” as those pre-Christian age graves are known in Icelandic) that are on permanent display in the viking age section of the museum. The article was originally published on TravelExaminer.net, where Sundsmo is the Technical Director. Swords and particularly arrow heads are a lot rarer finds than spears and axes. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It can also be really pricey. A special Culture Night is held in August where the city becomes a living stage for theatrical performances in unexpected locations. Kids and Families Discover the Mayan World at Hacienda Petac, Down on the Farm in California’s Anderson Valley, San Diego: Culture and History in a California Beach Town, Six Culture-Focused Cruises You’ve Never Heard Of, Adventures on the San Francisco Bay Area Maritime Trail. Understanding the fear experienced by those early Icelandic settlers allowed me a greater understanding of their resolve; i.e., they had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I pondered that perhaps when it’s man against nature and there is nowhere to go to for help, we are glad of an established culture engendered by an Althing. On arrival in Iceland, I had a number of questions, and some of my answers came in the Reykjavik Maritime Museum and others while traveling the South Ring Road. Together, they re-create settlement villages and showcase skills such as Viking blacksmithing, raising Icelandic chickens and the surprisingly difficult art of horn blowing. /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. This is in contrast to the burials for adults which often had rich array of grave goods. Perhaps that grief was magnified by the lack of the place infants or babies had in the pagan afterlife. Despite of what some of the legends of the Norse gods such as Ása-Þór, Loki and Ódinn suggest, attitudes seemed to have been somewhat against it in everyday life … A fact that us modern people do not consider a lot is that even minor wounds from these weapons could well be deadly as there was a limited ability to cure infections. For a taste of contemporary Icelandic cuisine, the Food and Fun festival in February is a foodie's dream. Overall, the Icelandic experience completely satisfied my visual senses. When I visited Ϸingvellir this Spring, then looked at the photograph in Dougherty’s Viking history book, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. STJÓRNMÁL & STJÓRNSÝSLA n Fræðigreinar Individualistic Vikings: Culture, Economics and Iceland Már Wolfgang Mixa, Adjunct, School of Business, Reykjavik University Vlad Vaiman, Associate Dean and Professor of International Manage- ment, California Lutheran University Abstract Icelandic culture has generally been … These Scandinavian people brought with them their cooking traditions and farming lifestyle. amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; Danes thought Icelandic culture embodied the most noble elements in the Norse experience and looked to Iceland for inspiration. Just up the road from Geysir is the pride of Iceland, the majestic Gulfoss waterfall, which defies description as it showcases the awe-inspiring grandness and power of nature. The island’s entire population is only about 300,000. Fleeing from subjugation, killing and enslavement by King Harald Finehair, (the raiding warrior who united Norway, 872-930 AD), the Icelandic settlers took with them a democratic process developed throughout the Viking world in the 7th century. As far back as the 8th century, Danish Vikings set up settlements on the French coast and conquered large parts of today’s UK. An afternoon visit gave me a better idea what the early settlers faced, as well as the abundant fish resources they could rely on for food. Photo by John Sundsmo. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; But they could brag about finding a distant land where the sun never sets. I finally arrived at Geysir around lunchtime and the restaurant at the Vistor’s Center offered a fine lamb stew. Last weekend’s Gay Pride reminded me of another topic that I’ve been thinking of writing about for a while now: homosexuality in viking era Iceland. In any case, there are a few sets of artifacts from the viking age on the permanent display of the Icelandic National Museum  that always capture my imagination when I look at them. It is the only human image preserved from Icelandic viking times and I wonder who made these pieces, played with them and who was the role model for that small human image if any. I’m betting he’d be very proud. Upstream from Selfoss were my next stops: Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall and Ϸingvellir. May 27, 2016 - Iceland was settled by Norse vikings back in 930 A.D. After them followed vikings from The British Isles and Scandinavia. Selfoss to Geysir (56km/35 miles):  From Selfoss to Geysir on Hwy-30 or Hwy-35 should be only around an hour drive by car  – that is, if you don’t stop for the views, or if you don’t make detours to look at Icelandic horses, or rivers, or search for farmers’ markets or local stores. As an American I never really investigated my Swedish/Norwegian/UK heritage.That all changed after a spur of the moment decision to fly to Iceland for a week. Prior to the 20th century, Icelandic art was influenced by northern European traditions. The midwinter festival of Þorrablót is a chance to try a taste of the past, from rotten shark to sheep´s head, and hung meat to liver sausage. The microbes that ferment skyr are known as "active cultures," and convert the lactose from the milk into lactic acid. The country is much more than a BIG SKY country. A variety of accommodations are available, from high-quality guest houses to hostels for backpackers and hikers; to campgrounds and simple (sometimes uncomfortable) cabins – so again, plan ahead. Getting back to my hotel room that night, cold, damp and weary, I viewed the sky in the Collingwood 1897 “Thingbrekka” painting and could well imagine that he experienced the same wind, cold and horizontal, stinging rain that I did that day. No, you aren’t going to go swimming in a glacier lagoon, in fact, I would highly recommend against it! Justice was swift and strong, and punishments included fines, loss of property and status, and when extreme, confiscation of property and banishment from the community to a “renegade/outlaw” status. The child´s grave did not have any grave goods for use in the afterlife for the dead person. Who knows, these were different times. The site of the Icelandic Althing was just over the hills in Ϸingvellir, my next stop after the Gulfoss waterfall. A broach from that area of the world may indicate settlement by people from that area or that a Viking tradesman or raider brought home a foreign wife from his travels or presented his long suffering wife with a mighty gift to appease her. The museum covers the whole history of Iceland in great detail but in this blog post we shall limit ourselves to just the Viking part of the museum and only a fraction of that to be sure. ... See MoreSee Less, Spectacular eight-mile frieze of Ice Age beasts found in Amazon rainforest, Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Linked InShare by Email, How to plan an architecture walking tour along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile ... See MoreSee Less, How to plan an architecture walking tour along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Any fans of striking, contemporary architecture out there? Exciting battle reenactments serve to truly engage the crowds and give a sense how ancient adventurers such as Erik the Red lived. I still wondered what community laws kept the society intact, and part of my answer came from the Geysir Visitor’s Information book edited by Olwyn Owen, Things in the Viking World. The original grass houses constructed by the original settlers of Iceland were based on Viking longhouses. Viking feats of navigation, courage and daring would be difficult to reproduce today, even with modern technology and navigation aids. In August 2017 Iceland's oldest and biggest Viking club Rimmugýgur, held a Viking feast at Víðistaðatún park in Hafnarfjörður town. Nothing could have been a more inhospitable environment than Iceland with no food animals, so how did they survive? amzn_assoc_region = "US"; Hot pots and pools dominate the cultural sphere here in Iceland. Photo by John Sundsmo. (The next restaurant was 20-30 miles away.). amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; */, Ice age animals and humans -- together! Posted by hulda on Aug 16, 2012 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic history. Even considering the strength of the 20-30 men, organizing and setting out on these voyages with families, livestock and supplies must have been a daunting and risky endeavor, especially in the 8th century–more than 500 years before Columbus. The Icelandic National Museum is an unassuming place but in some way it manages to display its artifacts in a way that tell the story of the peculiar and remote island country Iceland from its Viking age origins to modern times in a captivating way. As a child of the nuclear-holocaust-be-prepared-60s, I always wondered what tools it would take to survive in a hostile world. Viking food in general tends to be rather nauseating for those unaccustomed to the methods and ingredients Vikings tend to use but even some Vikings cringe at the sight of traditional Icelandic food, myself included. Main god was Odin and more workers names of rivers and volcanoes that can not be traced back to languages! 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