When I first went to Iceland I thought there was one turf house to see and could not figure out where in Iceland it was located. It finally became apparent that there are many turf houses and some are used today. Sometimes there might be a property with a above ground house, but a turfhouse is used as a structure to store farming items, for example.
When the people began to populate Iceland the timer was a scarer commodity. Thin birch trees could only be used as frames to build a home. The climate is rough from the cold, the damp, and the wind. Building a home into the side of a hill or mounding earth around a home added protective shelter from the elements and helped to solve the issue of not having wood to build a house. Many of the walls were constructed of layered turf and ceilings of flat stone with turf on top. Many of the older houses are built in the tradition of the Viking long houses, but as time went on, more wood was shipped in and wooden ends were decoratively placed and houses became more of separate units instead of a long house.
We have provided a few pages covering the turf houses we visited while in Iceland and hope you enjoy your virtual visit into these homes.