Pingvellir National Park

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Bláskógabyggð , Iceland

Pingvellir National Park Bláskógabyggð Reviews

rcpilgrim rcpilgrim
40 reviews
Part of the Golden Circle Tour May 19, 2012
Pingvellir is a huge valley directly on the section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that crosses Iceland from North to South. One side of the valley is the North American Tectonic plate and the other side is the Eurasian Tectonic Plate. There is a large lake and river system that run through Pingvellir and the entire valley is covered in glaciers and extinct volcanos. But in Iceland that word is used lightly. Pingvellir has political significance in Icelandic history as well as geologic significance. The valley was the scene of the Icelandic Alpingi, the world's oldest parliament, and dates back over a thousand years. The views are outstanding. You can literally see where the earth's crust is splitting in two and forming new land in-between the rifts. This was the highlight of Iceland for me.
Pingvellir glacial valley
The North American tectonic plate
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge
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Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
The Parliamentary Plains and the American/ Eurasian Tectonic Plates Dec 18, 2010
Thingvellier National Park is a world heritage site, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2004. A place of great cultural, historical and geological importance, the park is a protected area under the Icelandic nation with preservation of the Alping. It sits at the very heart of the Icelandic culture and reflects the history of the nation. Located in southern Iceland in the region of Blaskogabyggo, popularly referred to as the parliamentary plains. With the coming of the Vikings to settle in Iceland in and about 930, the leaders decided to make a formal government structure that would be different from that of the kingship they fled from. The Alping government/ general assembly convened for the very first time in 930 at Pingvellir when the commonwealth was in existence. The Alping being the Icelandic legislative branch and the highest court in the land. Because of it's location there was surerity of access from all parts of the country using old overland routes.

The Alping met and stayed in make shift shelters known as booths. During this time, it was hard to construct buildings or permanent shelters. In it's place now is a flag post that marks the very location where the parliament convened. During the Old Commonwealth, Logberg (the law rock) was the center of the Alpingi's activities. The Law Speaker, elected for a term of three years, recited the laws aloud at Logberg, in ther period before laws were recorded before laws were recorded in writing. It was at Logberg that the Icelanders adopted the Christian religion around 1000 AD (information from the Pingvellir National Park Information Center).


How the Alpingi-Icelandic Parliament worked:

The Logberg was open to all and everyone who had a right to address the assembly from the rock. With the introduction of the law known as Jarnsida (iron side) in 1271-1273, Logberg lost it's importance.  The legislative body of the Alpingi became Logretta, which was also Iceland's highest court of law. It enacted laws and ruled on legal disputes. Logretta comprised chieftains, the followers, and in the latter part of the period also bishops. The proceedings of Logretta were open to all observers. When the Icelanders sworn as oath of loyalty to the King of Denmark in 1662 and submitted to the absolute rule, the last remnants oh their self government were wiped out. Court proceedings continued to be held until 1798. In the 19th and 20th centuries Pingvellir had an important symbolic value in the Icelanders' campaign for independence from Danish rule.


The American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates:

When the modern Icelandic Republic was founded in 17 June 1944, the historic moment was marked at the ancient law Rock, Logbeerg at Pingvellir. Pingvellir lies within a belt of volcanic activity and fissures which passes across Iceland, a part of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the junction of the American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates. It is situated at the western end of a rift valley which extends from the mountains in the northeast down to Pingvallavatn. Over the past 10,000 years the earth's crust has been subsiding and diverging here. It expands at 2 cm a year.

This is the oldest parliament of the world founded here in 930 on Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Lake Thingvallavatn is 14 meters deep, and this lowest point lies 13 m below sea level. Its discharge is River Sog, the longest spring fed river of Iceland with a very constant volume of water. Three hydro electric power stations are situated on the river, which counts among the good salmon rivers. Very little water enters the lake on the surface, which means that it is mainly spring fed. Highly recommended if you should find yourself in Iceland.
pingvellir: The Parliamentary plai…
pingvellir: The Parliamentary plai…
pingvellir: The Parliamentary plai…
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5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Africancrab says:
Thank you.
Posted on: Mar 08, 2011
kkrater says:
Great Review! I love the history. I'll have to visit when I go to Iceland.
Posted on: Mar 08, 2011
Africancrab says:
It was a highlight for my trip to Iceland.
Posted on: Jan 26, 2011
David David
22 reviews
Natural and Historical Park Oct 02, 2010
I would venture to say that this is a must see when you are in Iceland. It's not common that you get to visit a place where the you can see evidence of the continental drift. At Pingvellier you can clearly see and walk along the faults created by the North American and Eurasian plates.

Historically, due to its close proximity to nearby settlements, it's also the location of the first parliament in Iceland--Alpingi.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Chokk says:
Great thanks - can you do the same with the Gullfoss reveiw :)?
Posted on: Jan 27, 2011
David says:
Moved, thanks!
Posted on: Jan 27, 2011
williamsworld says:
Very Cool
Posted on: Jan 26, 2011
Pingvellir National Park Map
Bláskógabyggð