Faroe Islands, Faroe Islands or Sheep Islands – three names for an archipelago in the North Atlantic, which lies between the British Isles, Norway and Iceland and which is a rather seldom chosen holiday destination… although a trade journal ranks it among the best travel destinations in the “Islands” category ” set. Nevertheless, the 18 islands – all of which are inhabited with the exception of Lítla Dímun – are still rather unknown and very few people know that, for example, the islanders are called Faroese and that they do not see themselves as Danes, but as an independent people, as the Faroe Islands like Greenland are an equal nation within the Kingdom of Denmark (but not a member of the European Union). What characterizes the Faroe Islands, among other things, are almost 1,300 km of mostly rugged coastline, which protrudes vertically from the sea in many places, and the fact that no place is more than 5 km from the sea. The places are also mostly in natural harbors, in fjords or in bays. From the highest mountain, Slættaratindur with a height of 882 m, you can see the entire archipelago on a clear day, and at Cape Enniberg you are in the Faroe Islands on the highest vertical cliff in the world with a height of 754 m. Otherwise, the island world is tranquil and also shows itself with partly swampy valleys and plateaus, many streams that run through the landscape, and countless sheep, as well as an independent cultural nation within the Nordic world, which are known for their literary and musical productivity.
The picturesque Tinganes Peninsula is a highlight of any trip to the Faroe Islands. The rocky headland lies in the port of the capital Tórshavn and at the same time forms its historical core. Some of the oldest houses in Tórshavn are in Tinganes and date back to the 14th century. Together with buildings from later eras and the cathedral church, they form a dreamlike backdrop. In addition, countless narrow and winding streets invite you to take a leisurely stroll. It is not for nothing that Tinganes was voted one of the “Seven Faroese Wonders” in 2007.
The great political past of the peninsula
Tinganes is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world. As early as 900, the Vikings held a public gathering (Althing) here on the Faroe Islands every summer. This was mostly held around Ólavsøka, St. Olav’s Day. In the course of this event, which originally took place in the open air on the peninsula, all free men of the islands were able to meet for a discussion in order to subsequently be able to make important political decisions. Even today you can see man-made stones or rocks on the rocky coast of the peninsula, which probably date from the time of the Vikings.
Over the years the annual assembly was moved to a building and developed into a regular assembly of laws (Løgting). To this day, Tinganes has remained intact as the political center of the Faroe Islands and still houses the Prime Minister’s office. However, there are no barriers or armed police in this area. All areas are accessible to tourists and therefore a very special experience.
The art museum in the Faroe Islands
The Listasavn Føroya Museum on the Faroe Islands is located in the capital, Tórshavn. It is largely dedicated to Faroese art and was founded in 1989. The dark wooden house with its pointed zigzag roofs was designed by the architect on the Faroe Islands Jákup Pauli Gregoriussen. The museum is located in the north of the city park of Tórshavn near the also very interesting “House of the North”, which is dedicated to Scandinavian art. which was added in 1993.
The collection of sculptures, paintings, drawings, sculptures and graphics shows permanent and changing special exhibitions by contemporary artists and should not be missed by art connoisseurs when visiting Tórshavn. Some of the permanently represented artists on display include Steffan Danielsen, Ruth Smith, Janus Kamban and Sámal Joensen-Mikines. Two important exhibitions of Faroese art take place at the Art Museum Listasavn Føroya in Torshavn every year. The “Várfam sýningin” in the spring months and the “Ólavsøkuframsýningin” in the summer, which are planned by the Art Society of the Faroe Islands and present many, partly unknown artists from the Faroe Islands.
After an eventful walk through the museum’s forest of images, visitors can fortify themselves with a delicious snack in the associated café. There is also a small shop selling art books, prints, and souvenirs for those who stayed at home. The art museum in Tórshavn is open every day in summer and closed on Mondays the rest of the year.
Tórshavn, the small capital of the Faroe Island, has only 12,500 inhabitants. Holidaymakers can reach the small town via the international airport or by ship via the city harbor, which is even suitable for cruise ships. Tórshavn is located on the island of Streymoy and, despite its small size, has some interesting and architectural attractions. The Torshaven city park, which is considered one of the most important local recreation areas, has a relaxing effect, the old lighthouse at the harbor is romantic, the cathedral of Tórshavn, which was built from wood in 1788, is venerable.
The painting, the church bell and a pot of gold
The cathedral is located in the old town of Tórshavn and is a popular photo opportunity. The building, painted white and covered with slate, belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran state church of the Faroe Islands and was built in 1788. The picturesque church houses a wonderful altarpiece from 1647. The simple painting from the late Renaissance is 100×100 cm and is part of the religious painting of the 17th century. In 1961, the remarkable work by Holmer and Ernst Trier was restored in collaboration with the local painter Fraser Eysturoy.
The church bell with a height of 30 cm and a lower diameter of 41.5 cm is also worth mentioning. It is a ship’s bell that was probably hung in 1708 and was recovered from the wreck of the sailing ship Norske Løve. The merchant ship of the Danish East India Company sank in 1707 off Lambi, on the east coast of the Faroe island of Eysturoy. Despite a maritime investigation, there are still stories about the sinking of the Norske Løve, her cargo and a possible gold treasure. The bell found its way into the cathedral church, where it still hangs today. There is even a model of the ship here. Although the possible treasure has been dived several times, it has not yet been found, and no other objects have been found either.