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Trip Planner Europe  /  Faroe Islands  /  Streymoy  /  Torshavn

Torshavn

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Historic Walking Areas · Churches · Historic Sites
Tórshavn is the capital and largest town of the Faroe Islands. Tórshavn is in the southern part on the east coast of Streymoy. To the northwest of the city lies the 347m mountain Húsareyn, and to the southwest, the 350m Kirkjubøreyn. They are separated by the Sandá River. The town proper has a population of 13,000 (2008), and the greater urban area a population of 19,000.The Norse established their parliament on the Tinganes peninsula in AD 850. Tórshavn thus became the capital of the Faroe Islands and has remained so ever since. All through the Middle Ages the narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea made up the main part of Tórshavn. Early on, Tórshavn became the centre of the islands' trade monopoly, thereby being the only legal place for the islanders to sell and buy goods. In 1856, the trade monopoly was abolished and the islands were left open to free trade.HistoryEarly historyIt is not known whether the site of Tórshavn was of interest to the Celtic monks who were probably the first settlers in the Faroes. The Viking settlers in the 9th century established their own parliaments, called tings, in different parts of the islands, it being the tradition in each case to hold the ting at a neutral and thus uninhabited place, so no one location gave anyone an advantage. The main ting for the islands was convoked in Tórshavn in 825, on Tinganes, the peninsula that divides the harbour into two parts: Eystaravág and Vestaravág. The Vikings would thus meet on the flat rocks of Tinganes every summer, as the most central place on the islands, although there was no settlement at Tinganes at that time. The Færeyinga Saga says: "the place of the ting of the Faroese was on Streymoy, and there is the harbour that is called Tórshavn". The Viking age ended in 1035. The ting was followed by a market which gradually grew into a permanent trading area.
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