Þingvellir is a remarkable place both geographically and historically and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and understandably so. Þingvellir is the site of the world's oldest parliment, the AlÞing. In the year 930 local chieftains and community leaders from all over the country met at Þingvellir for the first time to discuss laws and settle disputes. The AlÞing was held every summer for two weeks and attendace by the chieftains was mandatory. Þingvellir remained the seat of the AlÞing for the next ight centuries before it finally moved to Reykjavik where it is still situated and is modern day Iceland's Parliament. Þingvellir literally means Parliament plains.
However, this is not the only reason that floods of visitors converge on Þingvellir every year. As well as being one of the most beautiful and scenic areas in the south western Iceland, it is also the location of the great rift valley where the two tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia are literally tearing Iceland apart as they move further away from each other at a rate of 1cm to 2cm a year.
It is here at Þingvellir where you can understand why some Icelanders claim to live in both America and Europe as this is technically very true. In fact no where else in the world can you cross from America to Europe with just a few short steps crossing from one plate to the other! Not only that but I suppose that as you walk along the crack in the earth where the two plates are pulling apart, you could claim that you are neither in America OR Europe - No Man's Land.
Þingvellir is scenically a very beautiful place. From the panoramic views from near the visitor/information centre to the lava fields surrounding the area and from the rift valley cracks to the volcanic mountains in the distance you are surrounded by a rugged natural beauty not to mention the often frozen beauty of the Oxará River and Þingvallavtn Lake. To vist Ieland and not make the trip to Þingvellir is unforgivable no matter how much you usually try to steer clear of crowds of tourists.
Þingvellir is one of those special places on the earth where you can feel in your being that you are somewhere powerful. The park sits on the rift between the plates of Europe and North America which are moving apart and tearing the earth. It has created a crazy landscape. In the winter the landscape is very pretty, but beware to stay on the path as there are many places to slip trip or fall. It is an incredible place and my favorite in Iceland. Caveat: Bathrooms here are for hire (pay).
Is one of the three national parks in Iceland. It lies about 50 km east of the capital city of Reykjavík. Pingvellir is a national park with the most geological, cultural and historical value for Iceland
The Eurasian Plate and the North American plate drive 15 millimeters apart each year
Pingvellir Pingvallavatn located on the lake, the largest natural lake in Iceland.
The national park is 6 to 40 kilometers, enough to discover!
The nNational Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Some 'cracks' of the earth are filled with crystal clear glacier water. In these cracks is the bottom filled with coins. This has long been a habit for people who come here. Throw a coin into the water and as long as that swirls down (the brightness can be quite follow the coin) and make a wish before throwing your coin
There are also plenty of hiking trails in the national park where hidden spots. There is a trail that leads you to a beautiful waterfall. It is quite possible to discover the park by yourself but you get less information than to join a tour
About 45 minutes away from the hustle and bust of the city lies Pingvellir National Park and inside the park just off the main Road 36 lies the location where Iceland as a country was created back in 930.
No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Þingvellir by the river Öxará. At Þingvellir - literally "Parliament Plains" - the Alþing general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.
This location is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site added in 2004.
There is no price of admission and you can take as long as you want taking in the beautiful views and imagining how this location was used in the pass and how it effected the history of Iceland.
This is also where you can see the North American and European tectonic plates coming apart.
We spent about 2 hours here and enjoyed it very much !!!!
Þingvellir is one of those special places on the earth where you can feel in your being that you are somewhere powerful. The park sits on the rift between the plates of Europe and North America which are moving apart and tearing the earth. It has created a crazy landscape. If you are a SCUBA diver, put this on your list of must dives as you can dive between the plates. The tour drops you off at the base of a trail that leads up past views of the parliament and to the interpretive center. the setting is so prehistoric that I would not have been surprised if a dinosaur came out to scare the tourists. It is eerie. Caveat: Bathrooms here are for hire (pay).
Þingvellir translates as Parliament Plains and is the sight of the first parliament from 930 AD.
Here the leaders would meet and stand on the platform to discuss their issues decide on what actions were necessary. They would stay on the platform until everything was done that needed to be done. Only then could they descend from the platform and go indoors. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the parliament, the US government made a gift to the Icelandic people of a statue of Leifur Eiriksson which stand in front of Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík.