Old turf house

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Traditionally Iceland had very limited access to timber. The old major timber they could get was driftwood arriving from North America or Norway. When the old Icelanders couldn’t get a lot of prober wood they had to find alternatives.

The turf buildings

One alternative was to build the houses out of turf with only a little stone and wood to supplement the turf. The turf houses had an additional advantage – they were much better insulated than a wood house making the living conditions better during the long Icelandic winter.

One very good example of a turf house is found in Glaumbær in northern Iceland. It has been turned into a small ethnological museum and you can go and visit the house and see the way people lived in the old days. It is located only 8 kilometers north of the Ring Road so it is easy get there if you are doing the normal round trip of Iceland.

Where the family slept

The turf house is actually a collection of small buildings next to each other. I guess the building style just didn’t allow building one big building instead they had to connect a bunch of small buildings. Each of the small buildings seemed to have a different function – like kitchen, storage, bedroom and living room.

It is interesting to wonder the old building and get an idea of how they lived up in the far north of Iceland a bit over a hundred years ago.


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