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Gunnar Gunnarsson purchased Skriðuklaustur in late 1938. His friend Fritz Höger, a German architect, offered to design a European-style manor house with farm buildings for up to 1500 sheep, horses, cattle, pigs and poultry, as well as storage for machinery and vehicles.

The house (325 m²) built in 1939 is therefore only a small part of the complex of buildings which were to be constructed at Skriðuklaustur. Including the ten metres omitted from one wing of the house, the total base area of the buildings was to be 2,800 m².

Fritz Höger never visited Iceland. All his local knowledge came from Gunnar himself, and from books. In an article in Der Norden in 1939 he wrote:

“The most important aspect of the farm is a house for Gunnar Gunnarsson, his family, staff and guests. Next are sheds for all the livestock. In addition to this is a triple space for barns, a hay silo, and food stores for humans and beasts, so that all can survive a long winter with 24-hour darkness, without starving. [...] Proud and unpretentious, vigorous and unaffected, it will stand there, a two-storey building, the only one of the farm buildings constructed of huge blocks of basalt withwhite pointing, the windows sturdy,  peaceable and friendly – the roof with broad sheltering eaves, sloping at the same pitch as a real mountain chalet, with turf on the roof. The turf, beautifully green during the short summer, full of flowers like the grassfields all around; and during the winter hibernation, like the grassfield, blanketed in snow. Thin strands of winter grass will then hang down from the roof edge like an old grey beard, with long icicles. And the roofs of all the buildings will be like this, all the same, whether livestock sheds, barns, the estate manager’s house, or storage sheds for sleds, carts, agricultural machinery and a car.”

Yfirlitsmynd HögersGunnar dreamed of large-scale farming at Skriðuklaustur, of the kind he had seen in Denmark. He always had great faith in agriculture, and wished to see more cultivation in the Icelandic countryside. He undertook improvements to the estate at Skriðuklaustur, and was a proponent of founding a cultivation association in the region of Fljótsdalshérað. On the other hand, Gunnar's operations never attained a large scale: he had a maximum of 360 sheep in 1947, along with ten horses, five cows, a few cattle and pigs, and poultry.


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June - August: Open daily 10am - 6pm

May & September: Open daily 11am - 5pm

April: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

1.-11. October: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

November - March: Open occasionally. Ask for information.

Skriðuklaustur is in Fljótsdalur valley at the upper end of Lagarfljót lake - right by the highland road to Snæfell and Kárahnjúkar. Map

39 km from Egilsstaðir

11 km from Hallormsstaður forest

5 km from Hengifoss waterfall

A Visitor's centre for Vatnajökull National Park is also at Skriðuklaustur.

Adults (museum & guidance) 1100 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr
Students 750 kr
Senior citizens / disabled 550 kr
Groups (20+) 900 kr
Guided tour of the archsite for groups (10>)
Adults 600 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr


...life renews itself,
springing young and fresh
and blood-warm from the
sterile rocks. Every summer.

The Black Cliffs 1929

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