The park's Althing (parliament) is the cultural soul of Iceland because it played a key role in the country’s long history. Thingvellir National Park also has impressive rock formations and a unique snorkeling and diving spot.
The world’s first and longest-lasting parliament met here from 903 to 1798. Chieftains from around Iceland gathered to debate and enact laws – and to settle disputes. The participants assembled in a natural outdoor amphitheater in the Almannagja Fault.
This is the visitor’s favorite attraction. You walk on a canyon floor flanked by high, craggy cliffs. The views are arresting from both within the canyon and from a panoramic viewing platform on a high nearby hill.
Some travel writers would have you believe that the cliff face on one side of the Almannagja Fault is the edge of North American tectonic plate and the other side is the edge of the Eurasian tectonic plate.
Fact: Both sides of the canyon are part of the North American Plate. The Eurasian plate begins roughly five kilometers away. The land between is a geographical no-man's land, neither Eurasian nor North American.
Here you can dive or snorkel in a Mid-Atlantic Ridge fissure. The glacial water is exceptionally clear but very cold.
Thingvellir means “parliament plains”, referring to the site where the lawmakers assembled. It is pronounced THINK-velt-tier,
Thingvellir National Park is an hour’s drive northeast of Reykjavik.
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