Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Niceland # 8 - Þingvellir

Þingvellir is in the southwestern part of Iceland, near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area. Þingvellir is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the rift of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and European plates are opening, making the island coutnry larger from the middle. The site is also home to Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland and where the first Parliament or Alþingi was established in year 930.

The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region. The biggest is a veritable canyon. Smaller openings are full of clear water and are used as diving areas. Nikulásargjá, is better known as Peningagjá, coin fissure, is littered with coins at its bottom. Þingvellir is situated on the northern shore of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake of Iceland. The river Öxará traverses the national park and forms a waterfall at the Almannagjá, called Öxarárfoss. On the lake's northern shore Silfra fissure is a popular dive and snorkel tour location. Together with the waterfall Gullfoss and the geysers of Haukadalur, Þingvellir is part of the most famous sights of Iceland, the Golden Circle.
Source (Davido69)
Þingvellir National Park was founded in 1930 to protect the site's historical, cultural, and geological importance. Þingvellir National Park was the first national park in Iceland and was decreed "a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged. Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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