Sagas & Sorcery in the Westfjords

Learn about the sagas and creation of folklore in the Westfjords when villages were settled by sorcerers, wars were waged between clans and unwanted foreigners, and stories of ghosts emerged that are still part of modern Icelandic culture.

During this multimedia presentation you will learn about the settlers of the Westfjords from a time when the area was one of the wealthiest in Iceland. Locations and villages now seemingly remote were, in ancient times, seats of power both for secular and religious worlds. The Westfjords sagas are connected to other Icelandic sagas to give us a broader understanding of how different clans were connected and the battles they fought to protect their land, fishing areas and power.

Magic and witchcraft were an everyday part of life even after the adoption of Christianity and guided societal beliefs and behaviour. Elves, trolls, sea monsters, ghosts and people´s interaction with these are documented through to the late nineteenth century and we explore some of the more fantastical stories in this presentation.

Boasting rich fishing areas even today, foreign fishing fleets often visited the waters around the Westfjords and the interaction with locals reveals some of the darker history of Iceland such as the massacre of the Basque fishermen.