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Cultural Heritage Interpretation and Sustainable Tourism

The Icelandic CHIST 3 programme will be based in northern Iceland, in a region called Skagafjörður. The focus is on the preservation of traditional building methods and it starts with a two day hands on course in turf building. The region is rich in old historic buildings; turf houses, turf churches and stone and timber buildings, many of them belonging to the Historic Buildings Collections.

 Bryndis Zoega the project manager at Fornverkaskólinn Heritage Craft School will be our host and guide during the week. Participants will see examples of how Fornverkaskólinn supports and promotes historic building skills as well as recording and preserving the vernacular names and terminology associated with traditional Icelandic building methods, which are in danger of being lost.

 The craft knowledge is a prerequisite for being able to preserve and maintain much of the nation’s cultural heritage.”

Bring good boots, warm clothes, an open mind and a positive attitude to this hands on interpretation programme.

There will be visits and meetings at Skagafjörður Heritage Museum and Holar University College which offers courses on rural tourism. You will learn about the Sturlunga Project established in 2009 to promote historical tourism in Skagafjörður. Visit historical sites and see different kind of old traditional buildings.

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May 18th – 25th

Sunday May 18th  Day of arrival

Estimated time of arrival is 19:40. From Keflavík airport we drive straight up north to Skagafjörður, approximately 4 hour drive.

Our accommodation while in Skagafjörður will be in a little village called Varmahlíð about 20 minutes’ drive from Sauðárkrókur, the region´s main town. We´ll be staying in little cottages equipped with a small kitchen and a hot tub on the patio.

Monday May 19th  Turf course in Tyrfingsstaðir

Monday and Tuesday will be spent at Tyrfingsstaðir learning how to cut turf and mending old turf houses.

Tuesday May 20th 

Monday and Tuesday will be spent in Tyrfingsstaðir learning how to cut turf and mending old turf houses.

Wednesday May 21st Turf course in Tyrfingsstaðir

We start in Sauðárkrókur with lectures on Cultural Heritage Management in Iceland, turf, traditional Icelandic building methods and archaeology in the Skagafjörður area. After lunch we go to the Tannery Visitor Centre the only tannery in Europe that makes fish leather ( Afterwards there is some free time to look around Sauðárkrókur. For dinner we will taste the Icelandic traditional Hangikjöt (Icelandic smoked lamb).

Thursday May 22nd  An excursion around Skagafjörður (the east side)

We start at Hegranesþing the ancient local assembly site. An archaeologist will tell us about the history of the place and show us around the ruins. From there we go to Hólar in Hjaltadalur one of Iceland’s most important historical and ecclesiastical sites) After the visit we stop for lunch and after lunch we keep on exploring local historical sites. Our first stop will be the church at Gröf or Grafarkirkja, a small turf chapel that originates from the 17th century. Next stop is Grafarós, the ruins of a 19th century trading place. The last stop will be Hofsós, a small village on the east coast of Skagafjörður, formerly the main trading place in the region. After a walk around town the idea is to go and soak for a while in the local swimming pool and enjoy the view over Drangey and the fjord.

Friday May 23rd  Second day of excursions

Today we stay more inland starting at Reynistaður to look at the remains of an old entrance hall. A building that is one of the few existing examples of a type of stave construction from the 18th century. From there we go to Glaumbær, a large turf house, a part of the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum since 1952. ( After a guided tour we stop at café Áshús for lunch. After lunch we go to Víðimýrarkirkja. The present church at Víðimýri, was built in 1834 by builder/parliamentarian Jón Samsonarson. From Víðimýri we go to the old battle site at Haugsnes.

Saturday May 24th  the drive to Reykjavík

Starting off in Skagafjörður early in the morning, we drive towards Reykjavík with a few stops on the way. Our first stop is by Deildartunguhver the biggest hot spring in Europe. From there we drive to the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. And on we go; our next stop is the National Park at Þingvellir. From there we go to Reykjavík.

Deildardunguhver and Hraunfossar:


Sunday May 25th  day of departure

Our first stop today is The Icelandic Settlement Exhibition The exhibition is right in the middle of town and after the visit you have some free time to explore the city centre. At 17:00 we drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport. ETD is at 19:55.