. : Tourism and Culture
No place is more important to Icelanders than Pingvellir by the river Öxarä. At --ingvellir the Alping general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at --ingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Foreigners love to come there too and see the ----ausgebesserter Text----- place in Iceland.
History of -ingvellir.
Soon after the year 900, people started thinking about the possibility of setting up a general assembly - an Al-ing in Iceland. Shortly before 930, chieftains agreed to send a man named Ulfljótur to Norway. His mission was to learn the laws and customs that could become a model for the new society. He returned to Iceland where the first law enacted at the Ai-ing carries his name - Ulfljót's Law.
Both of them concluded that the assembly should be held at Bläskógar, so in 930, people ,^gathorod together at the place now called Pingvellir to take part in the first Icelandic Ai-ing, marking the beginning of the nation of Iceland.
Lögretta was the legislative assembly and therefore the supreme institution of the Ai-ing in the Commonwealth period. The work of the Lögretta was multifaceted as it settled disputes, passed new laws and granted exemption from laws.
After the bishoprics at Hólar and Skálholt were established, the bishops also had seats at the Lögretta. The number of men who sat at the Lögretta was thus 146, or 147 if the Law Speaker wasn't a chieftain. The Lögretta met on both Sundays included in the general assembly, as well as on its last day, and more often if the Law Speaker so desired. Everyone was free to follow the proceedings of the Lögretta, but no one was allowed to stand within the terraced area.
As the 13th century proceeded, increased animosity between chieftain clans ended when Icelanders yielded to the authority of the Norwegian king in 1262 with Gamli Sattmali. This treaty made Lögberg redundant and the Lögretta became the only entity of the Aiding, which then became a court of law with limited jurisdiction.
After the conversion to Christianity in the year 1000, laws were among the first things written down in order to avoid disagreements. It's said that laws were first put in writing in the winter of 1117-1118 at Hafliöi Mässon 's farm at Breiöabölsstaöur in Vesturhöp. The Commonwealth laws were later called Grägäs and are preserved in some manuscript formats and 2 parchments written in the final years of the Commonwealth period. There were courts at the Aiding from its beginning, but around 960 four courts were appointed, one for each quarter of the country. Legal cases that had not been concluded at district assemblies could be sent to a Quarter Court at the Aiding. Then early in the 1 lth century, a Fifth Court was established by the Lögretta, which could deal with cases that were left unresolved by the Quarter Courts. During the Commonwealth period, the executive power was in the hands of chieftains and the individuals themselves. When crimes were committed there was no central authority which could carry out judgments. Thus there were no executions or indeed any other punishments carried out at Mngvellir during that time. When Icelanders fell under the authority of the King of Norway, implementation of power was transferred to the king's officials, the district magistrates.
Centre of social life
For a two-week period each summer Icelanders from all parts of the country gathered at f>ingvellir. A common Icelandic phrase, "nu er prong a pingi", literally means: "now it is crowded at the assembly", and this can probably be traced back to the original assembly which was well attended during its peak. According to statistics left to us by Bishop Gissur Isleifsson, farmers at the Alftingi numbered from about 4000 at the end of the 1 lth century. Since one in every nine farmers had to accompany his chieftain to the Aiding, this meant that up to 500 farmers were required to go with their chieftains to the general assembly at that time.
In the Commonwealth era, it wasn't only those who had legal errands for the Aiding who made their way there. In the old law book Gragas, mention is made of tanners' and peat-cutters' booths, while in many Icelandic sagas, reference is made to beer-brewers and food sellers. Merchants, sword-sharpeners and tanners would sell their goods and services, clowns performed and ale-makers brewed drinks for the assembly guests. During the days that the Aiding was held, it was the centre of social life and a kind of capital of the country that the public visited. Labourers and traders, both Icelandic and foreign, went there, along with delegates of foreign heads of state, people in search of work, and beggars looking for alms. It's not an overstatement to say that the foundation of the Icelandic national culture, language, and literature was laid at Mngvellir.
Those who attended took on difficult journeys to get to the Aiding each summer. Some only had to ride for a day or two, but for others it took more than two weeks to journey over the mountains and desert sands of the Icelandic highlands. Today, grass-covered relics of booths spread over the assembly site are the only existing remnants of nearly 900 years of the history of the Aiding.
Paganism was widely accepted from the beginning of the settlement period, though some settlers were almost certainly Christian. Icelanders worshipped the old Gods with sacrifices. At the same time, the practice of Christianity was spreading in neighbouring countries. Prior to the year 1000, various attempts at spreading Christianity to Iceland were made with varying results, but the pagan practices still held fast. Then in the summer of 1000, a great event happened at the Aiding at I>ingvellir. Chaos threatened the young society as the Parliament was split into 2 groups: pagans and Christians. Each faction had its own Law Speaker and refused to acknowledge the laws of the other side.
The two Law Speakers agreed that I>orgeir Ljosveningargodi, the pagan Law Speaker, should decide which religion all Icelanders should follow. £orgeir hid himself for 3 days and 3 nights, then walked to the Logberg and declared publicly that Icelanders should take up Christianity, though pagans, he said, might continue to practice their religion in secret. Christianity made it easier for foreign cultures to enter Iceland, and literature started with the teaching of reading and writing. The first church was built at I>ingvellir soon after the adobtion of Christianity.
The assembly site was the area including the Law Rock (Logberg) and the Law Council, where the Aiding performed its duties. Lake Pingvallavatn in the south; the higher wall of the Almannagja fault in the west; and Flosagjd in the east. Where it faces the main assembly site it assumes a prolonged fork; the eastern branch is named Nikulasargja. After this was bridged in 1907, visitors began throwing coins into the water below and this part of the fault gradually became known as Peningagjd ("Money Fault"). Peningagja does not figure in any folk tale, but one can see the coins in the deathly cold water as a symbol of the great natural resource that the water in fact is.
Oxara river has been a prominent feature of I>ingvellir ever since the assemblies began there. The Sturlunga Saga tells how the river was diverted into Almannagja to give people at the assembly easy access to fresh water. Flooding from Oxara, combined with land subsidence, made it necessary to move the Law Council from its original location.
Inngvellir was an important symbol of national unity in Iceland's process towards independence in the 19th and 20th centuries. The last Aiding was held at I>ingvellir in the summer of 1798. After the assembly was suspended, f>ingvellir was a quiet place, off the beaten track for a period of time.
In 1874, a national festival was held at Mngvellir to celebrate 1000 years of the settlement in Iceland. On this occasion, King Kristian IX presented Icelanders with their first constitution, according to which the Aiding was granted limited legislative and financial powers. Many Icelanders went to Mngvellir to witness an event that marked a watershed in their campaign for independence.
In the summer of 1930, a large festival was held at Mngvellir to celebrate the Millennium of the Aiding itself. The Aiding festival was the first general celebration of Icelanders where a substantial proportion of the nation was present, about 30-40,000 people. The foundation of the Icelandic republic took place at I>ingvellir on the 17th of June 1944, the
birthday of one of its national heroes, Jon Sigurdsson. Election for presidency took place at Logberg, and state leader Sveinn Bjornsson became the country's first president.
National Park History
Nngvellir has always been popular, for obvious reasons. The history and striking landscape make the place an almost mandatory stopping point for tourists.And the area around Mngvellir by the river Oxard as an example of a site that deserved better care. He actually pointed out that Almannagja had already been ravaged by the road work that by then was a fact. He cited examples of protection plans abroad and mentioned Yellowstone Park in the US as a place protected by law.
It wasn't until 1930 that the first national park in Iceland was established - Mngvellir National Park.
In 1930, Gudmundur Davidsson was appointed as the first National Park Warden at Mngvellir, living there until 1940, when he had to retire because of poor health. He then moved to Reykjavik and was an Aiding employee until 1948.
Today, I>ingvellir is one of the most frequently visited tourist sites in the country. Each year, thousands of visitors go there to become better acquainted with Iceland's greatest historical site and jewel of nature.
This project was made of Matthias, Felix, Asa Ninna and Selma Hronn. We had fun doing that project and learning ajfot about J>ingvellir at the same time
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