Arnarhóll Hill and Settlement, Reykjavík
This is an amazing exhibition that should not be missed because in 2001 an archaeological site was discovered which turned out to be the oldest evidence of ea humans in Reykjavik. During the excavation a fragment of a wall was found to be from around 871 AD and then a long house from the tenth century. Both are preserved in their original position and are part of the Settlement Exhibition which is about Viking life in old Reykjavik. Multi media technology explains how the settlement was constructed and computer technology explains how life was like at that time. Several exhibits are on display from the time of the settlement as well as artifacts from different parts of the city. There is a separate section where you can see some of the settlement sagas that are dated from 12th and 13th centuries and tells stories that have been passed down through the ages.
I visited the museum free as i had the 72 hour city card but i certainly would not mind paying the entrance fee if i did not have the card.
Open daily from from 9.00-20.00
Adults 1.400 ISK.
Settlement Sagas: 1.000 ISK.
Combined ticket: 2.200 ISK.
Apologies for the photographs but the museum is dark with small lights for the exhibits
On the top of Arnarholl Hill there is a statue of INGOLFUR ARNARSON (Ingolfur meaning royal wolf) who is reputed to be the first permenant settlers in Iceland. He and hos wife Heilveig built there abode in Reykjavik around 874 AD. Reports from a medieval chronicle, Landnama which was written 2 or three centuries after the settlement has a detiled story about Ingolfur who was a Norwegian. According to the story he was involved in a blood feud in Norway and decided to avoid trouble. He had heard of a new island in the Atlantic Ocean and when this new land was in sight he threw his two high seat pillars overboard and vowed to settle wherever he found them. (high seat pillars were the symbol of a chieftain ). For three years his slaves tried to locate them and eventually they were successful finding them in a small bay which would eventually become Reykjavik. It is thought that he may have settled much of the area in SW Iceland but not much else is known about him.
At the top of the hill where the statue stands there is a good view of the surrounding area. The statue was sculpted by Einar Jonsson and shows the settler standing by his high seat pillar which is decorated with a dragon's head.
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.