The Faroe Islands are in the North Atlantic Ocean, located 320 km northwest of Scotland, halfway between Norway and Iceland. They are an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The Islands are a natural paradise with a scenery that will leave you breathless. On these islands there are houses looking a lot like the “hobbit” village from “Lord of Rings”, which are actually ancient dwellings with characteristic and unique turf roofs.
Archaeological findings show that settlers had been living on the Islands before the Vikings arrived and might had come from Ireland, Scotland or Scandinavia. In Scandinavia generally roofs have probably been covered with turf (or sod) since prehistory and during the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had turf roofs. People make these roofs as a way of protection from heavy rain (it rains almost 300 days annually on the Islands) and thermal insulation.
Sod or turf for roofing was cut from good pasture land. A naturally grown grass with a deep root system was ideal to make the roof. The turf was cut into pieces, carried up on the roof and put on a birch bark. The first layer of sod was traditionally placed with the grass down, as the grass would protect the bark and act as a drain. The grass of the second layer faced upwards in order to establish a solid surface. Eventually the roots of the two layers would grow into each other and create a solid structure. This is an ancient technique, still used by the workers and builders on the Islands to older as well as newer houses and constructions.
Although nowadays turf and sod are not used in all the buildings and the houses on the Faroe Islands, they are still widely used even at the capital of the Islands, the scenic and colourful Torshavn. However, the most picturesque “hobbit” villages are Saksun and Mikladalur.
One last interesting detail is that Faroes Islands, especially the island of Kalsoy, were used as one of the filming locations for the new James Bond film “No Time To Die”.
Unspoiled, Unexplored, Unbelievable. Explore Europe’s best kept secret and a really unique destination. For more information visit the official site of the Islands.
Finally a wonderful video about this magical place :
*[All photos are from iStock]