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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.