Djúpivogur

Member of the Nordik Cittaslow Network

Geographical area: 

The Bulandsnes peninsula is rather flat, scarcely over 40 meters above sea level. But as one goes further westwards, the land gradually rises, and on the western boundary of the district there dominates Bulandstindur, one of the country's most beautifully formed mountain, 1069 m high. It is shaped like pyramid and built up of basalt lava layers as are all mountains in the eastern fjords, mainly been shaped by the Ice Age glaciers.
The coastline of the Bulandsnes peninsula was originally very jagged, but the rivers which run from Þrandarjokull glacier have From Papey brought during the ages so much sand to it that the small bays have filled up, especially at the south. The one time Bremen merchants' harbour, Fyluvogur, has long ago been cut off from the sea, as can be seen clearly on the map.
What especially characterises the Bulandsnes peninsula and the surrounding area is the large number of rocky ridges, leading from NNE to SSW and dividing it into deimite portions. They often resemble manmade walls, but are in fact intrusions in cleaves left by old volcanic fissures. Sea and weather have destroyed the fissure walls, leaving these strange dikes, generally named "troll pavements".
Off the Bulandsnes coast there are a number of reefs and islets, the largest being Papey. On the eastern part of the coast there are widespread sand dunes and small vegetated islets.

The Eastern fjords fog, sometimes dense, mystifies the magnificent landscape and fantasy brings folklore and stories of elves, trolls and ghosts to life. Written sources, dating back many centuries, testify to the region's plentiful history. 

History – brief history of the area: 

The man leading the first family to settle in Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson, and his foster brother who was later killed at Hjörleifshöfði by the south coast, spent their first winter in this country at Geithellur in the second major valley south of here, Geithellnadalur. In the spring, some women climbed the mountains there and noticed smoke from the island Papey, so that the group sailed there and discovered Irish monks. Arnarson and his followers returned to Norway and upon coming back to Iceland, in 874, moved farther west along the south coast. 

Irish monks were therefore the first residents of this area, floating over the North Atlantic in skin boats. Since they did not raise families and start a nation, they have not been called settlers. In De mensura orbis terrae, the Irish scribe Dicuil wrote in 825 that he had spoken to hermits who had been in Iceland in 795, called Thule by them, where it was so light at the summer solstice that lice could be picked out of clothes at midnight. Though we are not certain when the first monks arrived, Dicuil mentions that Irishmen had stayed in the Faroe Islands since around 725. The early 12th century Book of the Icelanders by Ari fróði states that when the Norwegians moved here such monks departed from Iceland and even left various Irish articles behind, not wanting to live among heathens. The Book of the Settlement of Iceland, which Ari probably also helped compose, mentions specifically that such monks abandoned their belongings on Papey. Now only various place names and such stories remind us of their presence there.

Genuine settlement in the area of Djúpivogur is first attributed to Þjóðrekur, who claimed all the land surrounding the fjord Berufjörður along with the peninsula that Djúpivogur now stands on, Búlandsnes. Þjóðrekur lived at Skáli on the north shore, but remained only three winters. Apparently another man, Björn hinn hávi, lived simultaneously on Búlandsnes (bú being related to English “build” and “bower”); he bought farms from Þjóðrekur and is said to have fathered later generations of the fjord.

Several kilometres southeast of Skáli, at Gautavík near the middle of the north shore, the first successful missionary to Iceland, Þangbrandur, who had been sent by Olaf I Tryggvason, king of Norway, landed but was first refused relations with the people of the neighbourhood. A chieftain in Álftafjörður farther south, Síðu-Hallur, found out and invited Þangbrandur to bring his group there. Hearing Þangbrandur sing to the archangel Michael at Michaelmas that autumn, Hallur requested more information and was told that Michael would judge all his actions, both good and bad, though considering more the good ones. Hallur said he would willingly be baptized, if Michael would follow him through life. Everyone in the household was then baptized, in all likelihood giving the river Þvottá its name (þvo means “wash” - see the monument there to the coming of Christianity with what was probably the first baptism in Iceland).

 A tragedy to go down in local history was the plundering by marauders from North Africa, who rowed into Djúpivogur at sunrise on June 6, 1627. Most of the first people they caught and bound had still been asleep. Everyone found at the harbour and nearby farms was herded along; only one boy escaped and managed to warn other residents on the south shore of Berufjörður to run for their lives. Those fleeing escaped over the pass Berufjarðarskarð at the innermost end of the fjord, so that the pillagers continued driving their unfortunate flock along the north coast of the fjord, finally sailing away from near the farm Berunes, but only to stop once more for robbery in the next fjord south, Hamarsfjörður. Over a hundred slaves were taken away from these parts, rendering the area sad and forsaken for years. Remaining citizens built the cairn Bóndavarða and for a long time kept watch at that lookout point just above the village, which was also used by the British for surveying the ocean during World War II.

Commerce has long been active in Berufjörður, beginning at Gautavík before Þangbrandur arrived there. Soon after 1500, however, Hansa merchants from Bremen in north Germany took their business to the cove Fúluvík, located a short way south of the present-day village of Djúpivogur but now filled by sand which was mostly carried here by ocean currents after floods of ash from the eruptions of Katla under the glacier Mýrdalsjökull on the south coast (by Hjörleifshöfði). Some eighty years later on June 20, 1589, merchants from Hamburg, Germany, received certification for trade here from the Danish king and transferred to Djúpivogur. It has remained a trading post ever since, well over 400 years, though from 1602 to 1787, as in the rest of Iceland, business was monopolized by royal decree, the Danish merchant at Djúpivogur having exclusive rights to the territory all the way south to the hazardous glacial river Skeiðará by the current national park at Skaftafell.

From 1818 to 1920, the Danish company Örum & Wulff saw to trade here, i.e. until it was taken over by the local cooperative, which later joined to the larger cooperative centred at Höfn. The building Langabúð, which today contains the local museum, was constructed as a warehouse and store in 1840 and illustrates commercial buildings of that time. In addition, the branch offices of the cooperative are housed in a building from 1848. Other mementos of the past include, at the village, the former residence (called Hraun) and office facilities of Eysteinn Jónsson (see photo), who served in the position of three different national ministers for a total of nearly twenty years between 1934 and 1958, and the abandoned farm Strýta a few kilometres west of here, boyhood home of artistic brothers, the sculptor Ríkharður (b. 1888) and the painter Finnur (b. 1892) Jónsson.

Economy: 

Djúpivogur, a coastal town with barely 400 inhabitants, is located on Búlandsnes. It surrounds a small homonymous bay, and spreads out below and along the cliffs that are very characteristic for the area. The history of this charming town is closely inwrought with the Icelandic history of trading, as it became an important centre of trading over 400 years ago. Fishing has also been a linchpin in Djúpavogshreppur for centuries. In recent times, the tourism industry has blossomed and a hotel, restaurants, cafés, a campground, and shops, can be found in town. In addition to this, the town has good sports facilities with a swimming pool, many craftsmen and museums, as well as the outdoor sculptures Eggin in Gleðivík by Sigurður Guðmundsson that resonates with the flourishing local birdlife. From Djúpivogur, offshore cruises to the largest island offshore East Iceland, Papey, are offered. 

Today, Djúpavogshreppur focuses on offering an attractive and supportive community. It seeks to create interesting opportunities for local business development, encourages residents and guests to slow down once in a while and pay attention to their surroundings and their fellow men. To embrace the moment.

Presence of Slow Food presidia

  • Hotel Framtíð, Við Voginn and Langabúð are among the local supporters of Cittaslow.  
  • Hótel Framtíð, Þórir Stefánsson owner, +354 478 8887, framtid@simnet.is 
  • Við Voginn, Rán Freysdóttir owner, + 354 478 8860, vidvoginn@simnet.is 
  • Langabúð, Rán Freysdóttir operator, + 354 478 8220, langabud@djupivogur.is 

The municipality aims to further strengthen its ambitious agenda of:

  • Of emphasizing human values
  • Promoting the local uniqueness
  • Improving environmental quality 
  • Conserving nature and cultural heritages and supporting eco – friendly business. 

Our kindergarten and elementary school are green flag schools, where the children learn about recycling, local history, how to use natural material from the area and reading the local nature.

Djúpavogshreppur municipality is a sustainable society, we aim to become a plastic – bag free community, sorting and recycling is practiced in official buildings of the community and many homes and we encourage inhabitants not to leave their cars engine running unnecessarily.

Many remarkable houses can be found in Djupivogur and the municipality has put a lot of work and effort in renovating these house. Langabud is by far the oldest one, dating back from 1790. Another old house is Djúpivogur´s town hall, built before the turn of the century. 

The public administration of Djupavogshreppur aims to send out every payment slip and pay slip electronical. 

The municipality has made trails, especially focusing on bird watching in the area. 

The following companies and organizations are local supporters of Cittaslow in Djupavogshreppur. 

The local supporters offers, for example, design and artwork from local materials (reindeer horn, reindeer bone, stone, offer local food and organise events within the community. 

Indications of any project organized together with other cities

Our elementary school recently started working with the elementary school in Orivieto. The two schools are planning a teacher/student exchange program, taking place this year. 

Main Events: Cittaslow Sunday, The Djúpivogur day, open cardgame evenings, Forestday, Bingo´s and quize games, Christmas market, Old-Photo-Evenings, the elementary school invites citizens into the school, Trash-Colletion-Week

Festivals: Þorrablót, Hammondhátíð, Sviðamessa.

Typical products: Artwork from local materials such as reindeer horn, reindeer bone and stones from the area. 

Representatives of Cittaslow: 

Erla Dóra Vogler - tourism and cultural representative, Bakki 1, 765 Djúpivogur, erla@djupivogur.is 

www.djupivogur.is 

www.djupivogur.is/adalvefur/?pageid=3101

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