Iceland // Reykjavík //

Saga Museum

Housed in a former fish warehouse on the western edge of the harbour, the excellent Saga Museum is Iceland’s answer to Madame Tussaud’s. The expertly crafted wax models of characters from the sagas and their reconstructed farms and homes are used to superbly enliven medieval Icelandic life, often a confusing period in the country’s history, and although the entrance fee is steep in comparison to Reykjavík’s other museums, it’s worth splashing out to get a genuine sense of what life must have been like here centuries ago. All the big names are here: Snorri, who even rocks back and forth as he ponders; Eirík the Red; and Leifur Eiríksson and his sister Freyðis, the latter portrayed slicing off her breast as a solitary stand against the natives of Vínland who, after killing one of her compatriots, turned on her – according to the sagas, however, on seeing Freyðis brandish a sword against her breasts, they immediately took flight. An informative audioguide (included in the admission fee) explains a little about each of the characters on display – and the smells of the period which have been synthetically reproduced inside, too.

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