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Tuesday, 07 September 2021 00:00

 

Grenjaðarstaður í Aðaldal

Grenjaðarstaður in Aðaldalur is an ancient settlement and a vicarage, located 27 kilometers south of Húsavík.

One of the largest turf houses in Iceland can be found at Grenjaðarstaður in Aðaldal. Its oldest part was built in 1865 and the house was inhabited until 1949. The house is around 775 square meters and it is very grand, since Grenjaðarstaður was, for a time, one of the richest vicarages in the country. The estate was large and many crofts were built on its property. The estate also had great benefits in the form of, among others, the rights to salmon fishing in the nearby river and the collecting of driftwood. It was therefore, a desirable position to be the pastor at Grenjaðarstaður. A grand estate called for a lot of people to take care of it, so the house was sometimes inhabited by up to 30 people. Grenjaðarstaður also housed a post office and it was a part of the duties of the pastor to sort the mail. The church at Grenjaðarstaður was also built in 1865 on a foundation of lava rocks and in the cemetery, visitors can see a rune stone that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The National Museum of Iceland gained ownership of the turf house in 1954 and started constructions to make the house look like its original form. In 1958, the house was opened to the public as a folk museum and to this day, it still houses almost 2000 objects that were donated to the museum by people who lived in the area. Most of the objects trace back to the old farming society, but various objects that exhibit the grandness of the turf house at Grenjaðarstaður, can also be seen. People used to get water from a well close to the house and the main source of heat was from the large hearth that stood in one of the kitchens.

One of most defining features of the house is the walls that are made from lava rocks, rather than turf like most if these kinds of houses that still stand in Iceland today. The reason for the usage of the rocks instead of the turf is simply that lava rocks are very easy to find close to Grenjaðarstaður. The valley in which the house stands, Aðaldalur, is covered in large part with 2000-3500 year old lava fields. Grenjaðarstaður offers a fantastic view of the lava fields and the river Laxá which runs through them.

A sheep barn, cow shed and a barn were not attached to the main house, but stood a little to the side of it. The barn has been rebuilt as a reception area with restrooms and eating facilities.

The folk museum at Grenjaðarstaður is run by the District Culture Center and is open for visitors during the summer.

 
 
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