A Condensed Version of History in The Settlement Centre, Borganes
Icelandic history is not for the faint of heart. Defined by the exploits of adventurous Norwegian colonists and written during the Middle Ages, Iceland’s bloody past is a challenge to understand unaided. Murderous family rivalries coupled with escalating strife between Iceland and Norway was recorded in several volumes of historical records and sagas. While these deeds have been translated into several languages, the power of these narratives is often lost in a minefield of patronymic homage to ancestors who kept thorough records.
The need for a condensed version of Iceland’s past led to the creation of the Settlement Centre, which brings Icelandic history to life. Two exhibits initiate visitors into Iceland’s founding and vividly detail Egil’s Saga, one of the main epics written in the 13th century, by adopting theatrical elements to imaginatively retell well-known tales. Interactiv
e displays, including a Viking ship simulation of the first journey from Iceland to Norway and lively renderings of characters from Egil’s Saga sculpted by different artists in unique media, do justice to detailed descriptions of Iceland’s origins from the 13th century Book of Settlement and Snorri Sturluson’s renowned depiction of Egill Skallagrimsson, Iceland’s foremost warrior-poet. These images, paired with a multilingual iPod guide, are designed to leave an indelible impression on visitors. Run by husband and wife team Kjartan Ragnarsson and Sigríður Margrét Guðmundsdóttir, the Settlement Centre was founded with the desire to associate places with Sagas and stories from historical texts. Enriched with this background knowledge, visitors can then easily appreciate the connection between Iceland’s past and present; its places and stories. One hour is all it takes to get the gist of Iceland’s last thousand years, with the Settlement Centre handpicking choice morsels to whet visitors’ appetites for Icelandic history and sagas.
Curiosity about Icelandic history is not the only hunger satisfied by the Settlement Centre, which features a bright and spacious restaurant on its second floor. Prepared using five element principles which focus on balanced nutrition, the Settlement Centre’s restaurant serves up a tasty array of choices. A local favourite is the lunch buffet of soup, salads, and homemade breads prepared fresh daily. In the evenings, a dinner menu caters meatier dishes of lamb, fish, and occasionally horse.
The Settlement Centre has expanded its current exhibitions with a third project, a GPS guided tour of its surroundings in Borgarnes. Since many scenes from Egil’s Saga have unfolded close to the Settlement Museum, the GPS winds visitors through countryside where the sagas took place. Visitors can then listen on the spot to stories from the sagas, giving a sense of place to vast stretches of history.The Settlement Centre
13 -15 Brákarbraut • 310 Borgarnes
+354 437 1600