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Faroe Islands: Torshavn


Torshavn is the capital and the largest town in the Faroe Islands. The town has a population of 13,000 and the greater urban area, a population of 21,000. It was named after the Norse god Thor (god of thunder) and is home to over a third of the Faroese population. On Faroe Islands vacations, the town comes to life on summer weekend nights. Behind this, there is an inspiringly barren ring of moorland hills.

Tinganes is the historic district of Torshavn. The name means "parliament jetty" or "parliament point" in Faroese. It is a little peninsula with pretty turf-roofed cottages and historic timber buildings, most of which date from after a devastating fire in 1673 fire. Walk around and explore the ancient buildings. There are markers and plaques, installed throughout the area, that explain the history of the place. There is a well- preserved 1920s farmstead complete with bell telephone, a grandfather clock, and a full set of turf-roofed outhouses where the parliament met for the first time in the Viking ages. It is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world. The building on the outermost point on the small peninsula is currently the government's main building. Many of the houses in Tinganes were built in the 16th and 17th Centuries and are still in use today.

The excellent Foroya Fornminnissavn, the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, is just outside the centre of Torshavn where displays of Faroese artifacts from the Viking Age to the 19th Century can be found with illustrated photos and notes. In the downstairs treasure room, the 15th-century Kirkjubour pew-ends include a carving of the Virgin Mary meeting Elisabeth, mother of John the Baptist.

Skansin Fort is located on a hill beside the port of Torshavn. On top are a little lighthouse and four 18th Century cannons. The fort was built in 1580 to protect against pirate raids, was considerably expanded in 1780, and went through a series of rebuilds for many years. During the Second World War, the fort served Britain as a military base. Two guns, date from the British occupation, stand alongside many older Danish cannons.

Torshavn Cathedral is the second oldest church of the Faroe Islands in the old town. Painted white and roofed with slate, it was established in 1788 and is one of the main attractions of the town. Like most churches of the country, it belongs to the Evangelical-Lutheran national church of the Faroe Islands. Since 1990, it has been the seat of the bishop of the Faroe Islands and is therefore known as a cathedral.

Listasavn Foroya (the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands) is an art museum for mainly permanent exhibitions featuring old and new Faroese artists. There is also a sculpture garden to be enjoyed on trips to the Faroe Islands.

 

 

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Torshavn, Faroe Islands

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