miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

Vesturland, Iceland, Sagaland

West Iceland, the Sagaland

© Skarphéðinn Þráinsson

Vesturland / West Iceland: The Sagaland

In West Iceland history becomes vivid with every step, whether on account of the Sagas, folklore or just tales of men and the matters of men, the scenes of these stories are everywhere. Most of the Icelandic Sagas were written in West Iceland, such as Egils Saga, Sturlunga, Laxdaela and Eyrbyggja, hence the name West Iceland - The Sagaland.

En el oeste de Islandia la historia se vuelve viva con cada paso, ya sea a causa de las Sagas, el folclore o simplemente los cuentos y los asuntos de los hombres, las escenas de estas historias están en todas partes. La mayoría de las Sagas islandesas fueron escritas en el oeste de Islandia, tales como Egils Saga, Sturlunga, Laxdæla y Eyrbyggja, de ahí el sobrenombre de Vesturland - La Tierra de las Sagas.

    In recent years, more stress has been put on developing the Saga heritage of the área.
    Reykholt in Borgarfjordur is one of the most important historical sites of the country, not least on account of the cultural objects connected to the residence of Snorri Sturluson during 1206-1241. Very important old relics dating from Snorri‘s time have been found, such as a hot-spring bath, tunnel, farm ruins and steam and hot-water aqueducts. Snorrastofa in Reykholt is a culture and medieval centre founded in memory of Snorri Sturluson. The institution is meant to carry out and promote research, and the introduction of medieval studies and the history of Reykholt and Borgarfjörður in particular. Snorrastofa is responsible for organising courses, conferences and meetings, as well as exhibitions linked to these subject matters. Snorrastofa charges entry fees to exhibitions, runs a souvenir shop and provides various services to tourists. 

    The Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes reveals Egils Saga and the Settlement Saga in an entertaining and simple way by leading the visitor through a kind of labyrinth into the adventure world of the sagas by way of audio guides in nine different languages besides Icelandic, and a special audio channel for children. A complete circuit of each exhibition takes about 30 minutes. The exhibition describes one of the most colourful of all the saga characters, Egill the son of Skalla-Grimur Egil‘s father Skalla-Grimur Kveldulfsson was one of the first settlers in Iceland, arriving a decade later than the first settler Ingolfur Arnarson. The saga of Egill provides the best and most accurate description of how one family went about settling in Iceland. Egill was a great poet but also a viking and ribald abroad. The story intertwines battles and love affairs, sorcery and pagan lore. The Settlement exhibition portrays the first men who set foot in Iceland and how the country was settled up until the Althingi parliament was founded in the year 930. It shows how Nordic men were able to find their way over the open sea, why they left their homeland and what lay in wait for the first settlers. By using the modern technology of multi-media and theatre an attempt is made to give the visitor a sense of how it must have been to set foot in unsettled territory. 
    Eiriksstadir in Haukadalur is a living museum and a conjectural reconstruction of old ruins. According to old Icelandic tales Eirik the Red lived at Eiriksstadir in Haukadalur where he married Thjodhildur, Eirik the Red founded the first settlement in Greenland, having been outlawed from Iceland, and his son, Leif the Lucky who was born in Eiriksstadir, became the first European to explore the New World, the land now known as America. History comes to life at Eiriksstadir where guides dressed in Viking Age costume provide visitors with information about its history and show old crafts and objects. The museum has good facilities, such as rest rooms and disabled access to the ruins. 

    Eyrbyggja – Storytelling Centre in Grundarfjordur has taken part in various projects connected to the art of storytelling. Courses in storytelling have mainly focused on reprocessing folk tales and restoring the storytelling tradition.
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