Arnarhóll Hill and Settlement, Reykjavík
Arnarhóll hill is a small hill in the center of Reykjavík. On top of the hill is a statue of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler in Reykjavík. The statue was raised in 1924, by our beloved sculptor, Einar Jónsson (see my tip on his fantastic museum). The reason why Ingólfur Arnarson chose to settle here in Reykjavík in the year 874 (give or take a few years) is that his wooden Chieftain poles landed here. He had thrown them overboard from his Vikingship and decided on following them and settling where the poles landed. So that is the start of residence here in what was to become Reykjavík.
In the olden days (1534 I read) there was a farm called Arnarhóll on the spot where the statue is now located.
I go there often as the view from there of the city and the ocean is lovely.
This hill is mainly used for festivities, especially our National holiday on the 17th of June and on Gay Pride as it serves as an excellent audience area.
Next to the hill is our Central bank and above it is The Cultural house and some ministries.
To be honest, I'm not a huge museum goer in general, but I do like historical museums and national history museums and I really found the Settlement Museum in Reykjavik very interesting and informative.
The exhibition is built around the original remains of a Viking Age longhouse (dating from around 930AD) which was discovered during excavations under the sreets of Reykjavik in 2001. The remains of the longhouse have been preserved and form the centre piece of the exhibition and are the oldest existing archaeological findings in Reykjavik.
Apart from the remains of the longhouse, the exhibition has a number of interesting interactive and multimedia presentations which detail the history of the settlement itself while also exploring the early days of Icelands first settlers and their genetic origins. As an Irish person, this was especially interesting to learn about how the Irish and Icelanders share so much genetic history, with a huge amount of Icelanders having their cultural roots in Ireland and other celtic countries such as scotland and wales and our nordic cousins in Norway.
Although small and compact, the Landnámssyningin is one of the more intereting museums I have been to while travelling.
Price 600 ISK for adults
According to existing written sources, Iceland's first permanent settler was Ingolfur Arnasron, who made his home in Reykjavik around 870 AD. Archeological excavations in Adalstreati and Sudurgata streets have reveiled evidence supporting information from the book of settlement.