Archaeological remains are an unused resource in the travel industry, according to director of the Institute of Archaeology Adolf Friðriksson. In his view, the load on the most visited destinations could be relieved by pointing excavation sites out to tourists.
Skriðuklaustur. Photo: Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review.
Most tourists who travel to Iceland come to see the country’s natural treasures. However, cultural tourism is on the rise and there many historical sites that can be visited but aren’t particularly visible to tourists, ruv.is reports.
“Very few places are visible or known, maybe just ten remains that tourists visit regularly. However, they don’t realize that there are approximately 120,000 archaeological remains, so that’s a tiny fraction,” Adolf pointed out.
For example, in the Mývatn region in North Iceland, where certain areas had to be closed last spring because they were at risk of being damaged by throngs of visitors, there’s an abundance of sites of historical significance.
“There are about 1,250 archeological remains [in the region] and no one goes to see them,” Adolf maintained. He believes that with support from the authorities, many more interesting destinations for tourists could be created.
Adolf would like certain historical sites close to the Ring Road to be selected, access to these sites improved and information about them distributed.
“I believe that if we put ourselves in the position of tourists who don’t know anything about Icelandic culture and lead them to some of these places with remains of mountain huts or farms and inform them of our history it will light a spark,” he concluded.