Þjóðveldisbærinn (Commonwealth Farm) is a replica of Viking-era farmstead in Iceland. It is located in Thjorsardalur valley near Road 32 in Arnessysle County. This is a medieval farm situated below the mountain of Sámsstaðamúli in Þjórsárdalur. It is a reconstruction of the houses in the nearby farm of Stong. This replica is a part of the 1100th-anniversary celebrations of the settlement in Iceland. This historical venue exhibits the samples of medieval Icelandic handicrafts and technology. The farm remains open to visitors from June to September.
The Story of the Village
Stong farm was excavated in 1939 by a team of Icelandic archeologists. The farm shows the construction of the structures and buildings on medieval farms in Iceland. The farm was washed away when Hekla volcano violently erupted in 1104. The replica was resurrected on the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland. The reconstruction began during the years of celebrations in 1974 and was completed in 1977. Thjodveldisbaerinn was built to explain that how the medieval settlers in Iceland lived in well-planned, stately buildings. This project was partially supported by the Prime Minister’s office, the state power company, and the local municipality.
Learn How the Vikings Lived
The Commonwealth farm has something magical to offer. Inside the farm in the middle of the main hall, there is a long-fire. This is where the inhabitants used to work, rest, eat, and tell stories. The houses usually had a dining area, a sleeping area, a working area, a toilet room, and a pantry. There is no guidance in Þjoðveldisbærinn but you get an opportunity to dress up as Vikings, hold their swords and knives, and get a picture – A historic picture for a historic day! The farm has turf houses that are smaller than the regular home. People back then were smaller in height.
The farm also has a Turf Church which was most recently reconstructed. It was established to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Christianity in Iceland. The design of this church is inspired by a church the archaeologists found during the research in Stong in 1986-1998. They found the remains of several other medieval churches that inspired the design of the replica. This church was ordained in 2000.
Explore the Neighborhood
While the farm itself is a great area to explore, you can even explore some more historic and awe-inspiring places in the region. Some of them are:
Skeljastadir – Yet another Medieval Farm
Not far from Thejodveldeisbaerinn, is a long-abandoned medieval farm – Skeljastadir that is a representation of medieval Icelandic architecture. The main building has six rooms, the entrance, sleeping, and a working room called the skali, the living room, the storage room (used as a pantry), and a lavatory. The living room was used as a multi-purpose space, where women wove and cared for the children and served the meals.
Holaskogur is a modern accommodation and is popular among travelers. This is a deforested area in Gjupverjaafrettur in the mid-highlands of Iceland. This is where the farmers would gather their sheep from the mountains in the autumn and stay in the huts on their way.
Also known as High Waterfall, it is situated in Fossardalur valley in south Iceland. This waterfall is 400 ft. tall implying it is one of the largest waterfalls in the region. It originates from Fossa, which merges into the longest river in Iceland, the Thjorsa. Within the site of the waterfall is the volcano Hekla, one of the country’s most notorious and active volcanoes which have gone off over 20 times and are referred to as “the Gateway to Hell”.
How to Get There
The place is approximately 122 km from Reykjavik. You can rent a car and go there for a day tour. The road to Stong is bumpy and at times in a bad condition. It is recommended to take a 4×4. You can decide if you want to be guided by knowledgeable guides in the area on private tours or if you would like to drive there on your own.
Þjoðveldisbærinn is the perfect detour from our regular Golden Circle trip.