Greinasafni: Icelandic Times einnig undir: Söfn
Visit the Setting for Iceland’s Greatest Saga
-The Saga Center in Hvolsvöllur offers a unique Chance to Stand in the Footprints of Iceland’s greatest Heroes

The most famous and acclaimed of all of the Icelandic Sagas is without a doubt Brennu Njáls Saga, or Njála as most Icelanders call it. It is an epic prose written in the thirteenth century by an unknown author which tells the story of blood feud lasting fifty years. Njála is a highly complex work telling the lives of memorable characters such as the powerful, yet peaceful, warrior Gunnar Hámundarson from Hlíðarendi and his friend and title character Njáll from Bergþórshvoll, who were continually sucked into power struggles and battles by both their enemies and their own families.

The Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur offers you a chance to actually visit the sites described in the story and learnmore about its characters through the informative Njála exhibition. There the story and principal characters are explained in great detail, richly illustrated with pictures and descriptions of their conflicts at fateful moments in the story. Njála describes Icelandic society as it was approximately 1000 years ago; it offer magnificent characterization of power struggles, torrid passions, strife, and skulduggery in a heathen society that was about to become Christianized.

Unforgettable Experience
The immediate surroundings of the Saga Centre are the actual historical setting of Njála itself. The key sites from the story are labeled with the Saga Centre logo and in many places there are information signs detailing how the site is related  to the events and characters in Njála.All the sites are easily accessible to all visitors. The Saga Centre can be of assistance in hiring thoroughly experienced tour guides for large and small groups alike, which is an experience which will not easily be forgotten.

Imagine standing on top of the same rock as the seemingly invincible Gunnar  Hámundarson did when he fought off an ambush at the river Rangá. Gunnar had previously killed a man named Þorgeir Otkelsson and a nemesis of Gunnar had heard of a prophecy saying Gunnar would meet his demise if he were to slay another member of Þorgeir’s family. So it was no coincidence that among the attackers was Þorgeir‘s son, which Gunnar of course killed.

Fair is the blooming meadow
A famous passage in the book is when Gunnar was being forced to exile from Iceland and took his last look over his homestead and spoke: „Fair is the blooming meadow.“ After viewing the meadow of Hlíðarendi Gunnar decided to stay in Iceland and thus live the remainder of his days as an outlaw. That same influential meadow is of course still there today and you can decide for yourself if it is beautiful enough to spend your life as an outlaw for. Bergþórshvoll was the home to Njáll, as well as the setting for his death. After a series of misfortunes, mostly caused by his sons, Bergþórshvoll was ascended upon by an army of a  hundred men who burned the home to the ground with Njáll and eleven others in it. This event of course spawned the name of the story: The Story of the Burning of Njáll.
Insight Into the World of Vikings
The Njála exhibition also offers a unique insight into the pre-Christian world of Vikings, including the unique sailing techniques of the Vikings and miniature models of Althing. Another part of the exhibition explains the unique Icelandic tradition of safeguarding its storytelling wealth by writing it down on calf skin. And if you really want to submerge into the life of a Viking, you can attend events in the Saga Hall, which is a reproduction of a typical Viking Age chieftain’s hall, complete with benches clad in horsehide.

History of Trade
The Saga Centre also hosts an exhibition of Icelandic cooperative society, where guests can learn about the history of trade, commerce and the cooperative movement. Take a glance back in time and explore the life and work of past generations. The exhibition is conceived as a journey through time and enables guests to walk through the past 100 years of trade in Southern Iceland.

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