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    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    Slovakia
    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

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    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

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    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

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    Finland: Finnish Sauna. Go Now!

    Finland
    Unlike its neighbors, the Finns are unique ethnically & linguistically, but are wholly European in many other ways. Begin Your Journey!

Architecture of Iceland

Icelandic Architecture - Traditional house
Traditional house

Iceland's architecture is similar to Nordic architecture in many ways, first among those similarities being that most of the country's early buildings were constructed from wood or mud, giving the visitor today few early surviving examples of traditional dwellings.

Icelandic Architecture - Church in the country
Church in the country

Turf houses have been built since people first arrived in Iceland in the 800 or 900s, but these rarely last. Some are still being built today in a similar style and many folk museums also contain examples of these domestic buildings, but none are from the 800 or 900s.

Even as late as the 1700s most buildings were constructed from wood, which became a common building material in the 1000s with the introduction of Christianity and the building of churches. Most of the larger wooden churches were stave churches, however most of the remaining ones in the world today are in Norway, as there are no remaining stave churches still standing in Iceland.

Icelandic Architecture - Hallgrimskirkja Church
Hallgrimskirkja Church

In the 1700s stone structures began to be built. Bessastaoir, the president's palace is one of these earlier stone buildings and is located just outside of Reykjavik. Another example is the Parliament House, also in Reykjavik (1880-1881).

The 1800s saw new styles introduced, such as the neo-classical style, but again most of these buildings were constructed out of wood. In the early 1900s the Swiss chalet style arrived, primarily as housing for Norwegian immigrants. After independence and the Industrial Revolution, most buildings were made from concrete and even today most of the buildings in the country are made from this material, although modern designs have taken hold in more recent years.

This page was last updated: March, 2013