Visit Kirkjubøur - and get close to Faroese history
Kirkjubøur is an important part of Faroese history. It is the southernmost village in Streymoy, and is close to Tórshavn. In the Middle Ages this village was the cultural and religious center of the Faroes. The bishop resided here until the Reformation, and in the village you will find the impressive ruins of the old St. Magnus Cathedral. Built in the 1300s, the cathedral was never finished and was probably damaged by an avalanche. The only remains is the Múrunin (Wall) - an impressive five feet thick wall in the Gothic style that testifies to the old religion.
The old churches
The village is steeped in history and is known for its churches, as its name reveals. Ólavskirken is the only medieval church in the Faroe Islands, still used today. The charming whitewashed church dates from the 1200s. The very famous and beautifully carved Kirkjubø chairs, on display at the Forminnisavnid museum in Tórshavn, come from this church.
Family Farm in 17 generations
Roykstovan is a very old farmhouse that was once part of the bishop's palace. The farm has been the home of the peasants of Kirkjubøur for hundreds of years, and still is. The building consists of a large log house with a turf roof and is decorated just like in ancient times. Visiting the farm is like stepping back in time, and it's easy to imagine how life was back then without modern facilities.
Most houses in the village have the traditional turf roof, and the grass grows long. Sometimes the house needs a cut. The locals lift a sheep up onto the roof so that it can graze there and maintain the length of the roof.
The best way to get to Kirkjubøur is to take a shortcut and hike over the hills from Tórshavn . You will be rewarded with a spectacular view and fresh air, and during the hike you will have a view of the islands to the west - Sandoy, Hestur, Koltur and Vágar. If you wish to hike to Kirkjubøur you can ask the locals for directions, but there are cairns to guide you all the way. The hike starts in the southern part of Tórshavn, at the junction between Landavegur and Velbastaðvegur where there is a bridge over the river Sandá. The hike to Kirkjubøur is about two hours.
You can drive there, of course - it is only 10 kilometers from Tórshavn to Kirkjubøur, by car or one of the local buses. The local red buses are free.