Skriðuklaustur

  • Skriðuklaustur (The Skriða Monastery) is a center for culture and history in East Iceland

 

Skriðuklaustur (The Skriða Monastery) is a center for culture and history in East Iceland, in Fljótsdalur to be exact. This manor estate has played a big part in Iceland's history in spite of being a long way away from where it was all happening, in Thingvellir and later in Reykjavík.  Augustinian monks founded a monastery at Skriða in 1493. Theirs was a short-lived operation as in 1552 it was dissolved due to the Reformation in 1550. From then on the Icelanders considered the Catholic Faith to be heresy and would have nothing to do with Rome and the Pope, their monks and their monasteries. The monastery buildings disappeared due to erosion, natural forces and people farming the land.

Skriðuklaustur purchased by the writer Gunnar Gunnarsson

Then, in 1939 one of Iceland's most loved writers, Gunnar Gunnarsson bought the Skriðuklaustur land and built a very impressive, large house there, designed by the German architect, Fritz Höger. But, in spite of the stunning house and great location, it proved to be too isolated for the writer. He moved to Reykjavík in 1948 and donated Skriðuklaustur to the Icelandic Nation.

In 2002 an extensive archaeological excavation was launched at Skriðuklaustur

In 2000, the cultural and history center at Skriðuklaustur was founded, named The Institute of Gunnar Gunnarsson. A couple of years later, in 2002 an extensive archaeological excavation was launched searching for the old monastery ruins. The excavation revealed extensive buildings on a 1,200 square m. site. Research on the site indicates that the monastery's main function was to aid the sick and the poor.

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Below is the location of Skriðuklaustur on the map of Iceland