Historic Buildings

Sheep houses in Álftaver

Open daily from 8 am - 6 pm

At the monastery of Þykkvabæjarklaustur in Álftaver, there was a Catholic monastery founded in 1168. Now there is a farm and a church site. A short distance south of the farmhouses are two adjacent sheep houses, which are not easily accessible. At the end of them, there used to be a barn with an open passage leading into both sheep houses. The western house was built shortly before the turn of the 20th century, while the eastern one was built a little later. The house is open to guests at their own responsibility daily from 8 am to 6 pm. Please be respectful of the houses and their environment. 

Traditional Icelandic house construction varied depending on the available materials and local practices. In Álftaver and Meðalland, there is an abundance of turf, and the western sheep house in Álftaver is an example of its use in house construction. The frame of the older house has the unique feature that the roof rafters rest on stones protruding from the stone walls at sill level.

A short distance from the sheep houses is the ruins of the ancient dwelling called Kúabót, and when excavation work was carried out there in 1972, it became clear that the roofing was local and necessary to preserve examples of such houses. The houses have been under the supervision of the National Museum of Iceland since 1974, and they underwent restoration in 1976.