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Skansin (Lighthouse) is located on a hill beside the port of Tórshavn. The fort was built in 1580 by Magnus Heinason to protect against pirate raids of the town, after he himself was nearly caught up in one such raid. The fort was expanded considerably in 1780 and went through a series of rebuilds for many years afterwards. During the Second World War the fort served Britain as a military base. Two 5.5 inch guns date from the British occupation, standing along with many older Danish cannons.
Tórshavn’s old town, consisting of Reyn and Undir Ryggi, is home to two dozen or so small, black-tarred wooden houses with white-framed windows and grass roofs. People still call these 14th century houses their homes today. Stroll along charming narrow winding lanes and passageways and experience a wonderful mixture of old and new.
Tinganes is the historical core of the country’s capital. Dividing two harbours, this flat rocky outcrop is dominated by delightfully muddled turf-roofed structures that, quite unassumingly, are home to the Faroese Home Rule government (Føroya Landssýri).
Tinganes is said to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, parliamentary meeting places in the world, along with Tynwald Hill in the Isle of Man and Þingvellir in Iceland. It was here, in around year 900, that the Viking parliament first began meeting every summer to discuss matters of national importance.
No armed security guards here, visitors are free to wander at will – who knows, you might even catch the Prime Minister on his way to lunch! Guides can explain the history of each structure, but random strolling is enough for most visitors.