Borgarnes: A quaint little town filled with rich history
The beauty of travelling to strange and foreign lands is that you start to appreciate the tranquil beauty of small towns. While yes, having awesome adventures in large cities all over the world is exciting. After some fashion they become just over-hyped places filled with a large amount of people. That is why visiting rural areas offer a break from all the excitement yet still offer a chance for adventure.
In Iceland there are a lot of small towns that offer a glimpse of rural life in a place where technology has not yet fully engulfed. One of the most idyllic places to visit is the small town of Borganes.
The town of Borgarnes
Borgarnes is a picturesque town in the middle of the Borgarfjörður region. It has a population of only 2000 and is 70 kilometers west of Reykjavík or 38 kilometres from Akranes if you travel across the Ringroad. The town is ideally located because it enjoys a mesmerizing view of the glaciers Eirksjökull and Langjökull as it reaches out into the fjord.
Considered as the principle town of Borgarfjörður since the late 19th century it provides the region with the necessities which its citizens need in their daily lives. Because of the powerful tidal currents in the fjord, Borgarnes does not depend on fishing for its livelihood unlike the other costal settlements. Instead it became a service centre for dairy farmers who utilizes the towns slaughter houses and roads for their income.
History of the town
The town hosts a remarkable history and origin. Originally before it was named after the peninsula on which it is situated it was once called Digranes, which according to the Egill’s Saga was the place where the coffin of Kveld-Ulfur was washed ashore. Skallagrmur and one of his companions made their home on Digranes and became Borgarnes first inhabitants. Aside from becoming Borgarnes first settlers, Skallagrmur Kveldlfsson was the father of Egill Skallagrmsson a renown pirate, thug and poet and hero in the Egill’s Saga.
Attractions and Features
Today the history of Borgarnes is featured in the Settlement Centre of Iceland which was opened in 2006. Located in the town’s oldest building. The settlement of Iceland hosts the entire history of Iceland and its birth as a nation.
The centre holds two very important exhibits that tourists can view all year-round. The first is the detailed history of Iceland which is presented using various state-of-the-art videos and images as well as historical records and artefacts. The exhibit recreates an adventurous insight on how the earliest societies developed from its settlement to the establishment of the Alþingi. The second exhibit is located in the centre’s basement, wherein the centre recreates the entire Egill’s Saga which is dedicated to Egill Skallagrímsson. the exhibit features his life story and his legacy which visitors can watch with amusement. Or listen to with audio guides which are available in different languages.
Aside from the centre visitors can also take part in an organized tour held by the settlement centre during the summer months. The tour offers travellers a chance to visit historical sites mentioned in the Egill’s Saga which is a unique way of immersing oneself with Icelandic history and tradition. Tourists can also have the option of visiting the botanic public park Skallagrímsgarður, after the end of the tour, to pay respects to the place where Skallagrímur himself was laid to rest. Another fascinating place to visit is the European centre for research in medieval literature which is located in Snorrastofa in Reykholt. An institution dedicated to Snorri Sturluson, a prolific writer, historian and chieftain.
The town of Borgarnes is truly a fascinating place where history has been made and is still cherished until today, visitors will leave the town with their minds filled with visions of Vikings, poets, pirates and kings. It is a grand adventure that takes you back in time in a town that is slowly moving forward.