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Thingeyrar

Region: North Iceland
Coordinates: 65.5380651° N 20.6185296° W

Thingeyrar were among the best and most prosperous estates of the country. It possessed the rights to the great salmon catch of River Vatnsdalsa and to the seal hunting by its estuaries. The district parliament, Hunathing, was held there in ancient times, but no proof of that has been unearthened yet. This assembly is not mentioned after the monastery at Thingeyrar was established in 1133. This monastery is claimed to be the first in the country, but according to other sources, the first one was founded by an English bishop at Baer in the Borgarfiord District.

Churches have stood there from the foundation of the monastery to this date. The present church is one of the most remarkable churches of the country. The farmer, also a Member of Parliament, built it during the period 1864-1877. The cost price was Ikr. 16.000.- and Asgeir, the farmer, paid altogether Ikr. 10.000.- thereof.

The construction material was fetched to the Nesbjorg Cliffs on the western side of Lake Hop and transported on sledges across it during winter. After the foundation of the monastery, Thingeyrar became one of the most important centres of culture and education in Iceland. Many manuscripts of the old Sagas, which are still preserved, were written there. The bubonic plague (the black death) almost devastated the monastery and the farm around the turn of the 14th century.

Photo Credit: Arian Zwegers

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