The Icelandic sagas are some of the most famous examples of literary history in Europe and have scholars and story lovers equally enthralled. Some of their embellishments and outright fiction are undeniable; but the sagas are nevertheless based firmly in reality, meaning many of the sites mentioned can still be seen.
Visitors to Iceland have long been able to go to some of the most famous saga sites; and a new organisation is making the trip more fun, educational and easier than ever before. The Iceland Saga Trail Association (ISTA) is an organisation of 28 groups and initiatives which have dedicated their work to history and saga-related tourism in Iceland.
ISTA mostly springs from private initiatives with the prime objective of presenting the heritage of medieval Icelandic literature in a lively manner to their guests.
The Icelandic family sagas are tales of honour, love, feud and fate from the early centuries of Iceland’s history.
More information about the association, the Icelandic sagas and experiencing Icelandic history first hand can be found at www.sagatrail.is. Contact details are also on the website. Trail visitors are invited to collect stamps on their way round to enjoy special discounts and entry into an exciting competition.
Stops on the trail include Viking world (home to the replica Viking ship which sailed to America in 2000), and the Icelandic Settlement Centre which uses multimedia to demonstrate what life might have been like back in the 9th century.
Visitors should also not miss the home of the most famous writer of the time, Snorri Sturluson, where he met his bloody death in 1241, and also take a trip to a reconstructed tenth century Viking farm.
Iceland’s imposing and dangerous Highlands also take the limelight, as they were home to famous outlaws and exiles – and almost nobody else.
A winding and historically important route takes the visitor to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. Reykjavik boasts several saga related museums and exhibits – including the chance to see some of the ancient manuscripts up close and personal.
Due in no small part to Iceland’s sagas, the country has been chosen as guest of honour at the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair 2011. Preparations are already underway, including a saga trail press trip for interested British, German and Scandinavian journalists.
For more details, or to book places on the press trip if you are a journalist from the UK, Germany or Scandinavia, visit www.sagatrail.is and send an email, or go to www.visiticeland.com for more details about visiting Iceland in general.