This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
In a region that offers limited amounts of building materials, sometimes one must simply use the land itself. Once a working pastoral community, the Glaumbær Farm & Museum is home to multiple “turf houses,” consisting of stone bases and appearing to be enveloped by grass and earth. Containing a small church and different structures, the museum chronicles the long history of this region–-including the story of an Icelandic female explorer.
Functioning as a farm until 1947 when the last residents moved out, the settlement was soon turned into a museum highlighting the region’s folk heritage. The oldest structure on the property dates back to the mid-1700s, while the church on the property, shown here, was built in 1926, using what little standard building materials available to the site. Comprising 13 buildings in total, each building has a unique appearance and story to tell, from the main baðstofa (viking living room) to the Brandahús (main entry space).
In front of the church, a bronze statue of a woman and her child rise out of a sea-faring Viking ship. The sculpture honors Guðríður, who was considered the “most-traveled” Icelandic woman from her era. Having explored great swaths of the known world, she is portrayed here with her son, Snorri, who was born in America and came back to Iceland to build a church in Glaumbær.
Whether interested in visiting the town’s unique earthen homes or in hearing tales of ancient Viking explorers, the rural museum serves as an enchanting stop in the idylic Icelandic countryside.
Written by: Seamus McMahon
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