Top historic sites in Faroe Islands

Tórshavn Cathedral

Tórshavn Cathedral is the second oldest existing church of the Faroe Islands. Painted white, and roofed with slate, it was erected in 1788. Since 1990 it has been the seat of the bishop of the Faroes and is therefore known as a cathedral. The early history of the church is quite complicated. To all appearances there was no church in the strict sense in Tórshavn in the Middle Ages, only perhaps a 'praye ...
Founded: 1788 | Location: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Tinganes

Tinganes is the historic location of the Faroe Islands. The name means 'parliament jetty' or 'parliament point' in Faroese. The parliament met here for the first time in the Viking ages when Norwegian colonists placed their Ting (parliament) here in 825. It is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world, along with Tynwald hill in the Isle of Man and Þingvellir in Iceland. The L&o ...
Founded: 800-900 AD | Location: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Kirkjubøargarður

Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands

St Olav's Church

St Olav"s church is the oldest church in use in Faroe Islands, built in 12th century. Wonderfully carved pew ends from an earlier building can now be seen in Torshavn Museum.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands

Magnus Cathedral Ruins

Magnus Cathedral is a ruined cathedral built by Bishop Erlendur around the year 1300. The building was however never completed. The cathedral is in an unfinished state to this day. The building has never had a roof. Magnus Cathedral is the largest and most beautiful medieval building in the Faroe Islands.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands

Skansin

Skansin is a historic fortress located on a hill beside the port of Tórshavn. The fort was built in 1580 by Magnus Heinason to protect against pirate raids of the town, after he himself was nearly caught up in one such raid. The fort was expanded considerably in 1780 and went through a series of rebuilds for many years afterwards. During the Second World War the fort served Britain as a military base. Two guns date ...
Founded: 1580 | Location: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Sandavágur Church

Sandavágur Church is a distinctive red-roofed church built in 1917. A memorial was erected outside the church to one of the many ships that were sunk during the Second World War. The church is known for its runestone. The inscription on the Sandavágur stone tells that the Norwegian Torkil Onandarson from Rogaland was the first settler on this place. It is believed to be dated back to the 13th century.
Founded: 1917 | Location: Sandavágur, Faroe Islands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.