December 13, 2011

0070 ICELAND - The Turf House Tradition - Árbær farm (UNESCO WHS)

After two postcards with more or less active volcanoes, behold I received from Iceland a totally different picture, more earthly and more friendly (thanks a lot, Sigga). On the back writes this: "The turf church at Árbær farm dates from 1842. It is situated among many other refurbished houses to re-create the flavor of a small icelandic village. This living museum features staff that dress in period clothing and demonstrate various old-time craft and farming practices."

Indeed, Árbær Museum, from Reykjavik, is an open air museum with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village and a farm, where the living environment of past generations could be re-created in an authentic manner. Founded in 1957, around the abandoned old farm Árbær, which had long been a popular rest stop and inn for people on the way to and from Reykjavík, the museum received the current name in 1968. Among the buildings that are there is the church in the image, original from the North of the island.

The turf buildings, constructed by the original settlers of Iceland (from the west coast of Norway), are part of traditional Icelandic architecture and were based on Viking longhouses (langhús). At the first buildings of its kind the exterior turf walls were lined with a wooden frame, which was then panelled, with the roof relying on two rows of pillars dividing the internal space. The main room (skáli) consist of a central open hearth and two raised platforms (set). Later houses included an additional living space (stofa), incorporated a pantry and lavatory. Over the years, the layout became more compartmentalised, eventually including a sauna room (baðstofa).

Around 1791 was added a gable-fronted design (burstabær), which became widespread in the south of Iceland where the climate is warmer. By 1900 the design was evolving still, seeing such additions of a kind of timber porch at the front entrance of buildings (framhús).

The woman from the church gate is dressed with a Þjóðbúningurinn, the Icelandic national costumes, which since 2001 is regulated by Þjóðbúningaráð (The National Costume Authority). The costume in question is, if I'm not mistaken, a upphlutur, a costume consisting of bodice that can be coloured in bright colours such as red or blue, but often black. Hers headpiece is a skotthúfa, a tipical icelandic tail cap.

The stamp belongs to Bridges set, issued on May 26, 2005 and containing 3 stamps:
● Bridge over Sogides - 1905 (50.00 ISK)
● Bridge over Lagarfljot – 1905 (95.00 ISK)
● Bridge over Jökulsá in Öxarfjördur – 1905 (165.00 ISK) – it’s on the postcard

sender: Sigríður Torvaldsdottir (direct swap)

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