Tórshavn can trace its history all the way back to Viking times. The town is named after the Norse god of war, Thor, and a harbour, Thor’s harbour, as the name translates into English, was established here around 900AD. Today, there are two harbours in Tórshavn and they’re divided by a narrow neck of land known as Tinganes. It was here that the original parliament, or ting, would meet every summer to pass new laws and resolve conflicts. Over time, Tórshavn grew into the Faroes’ main trading port -- warehouses were built to store goods for export and a fort was constructed against marauding Barbary pirates.
However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th
century with the abolition of the Trade Monopoly, which had maintained a
stranglehold on Faroese trade for centuries, that the town really began to
flourish. Incredible as it seems today, just two hundred years ago, Tórshavn
counted a population of barely 600 people. That figures currently stands at an
impressive 20,000, or so, and two out of five Faroe Islanders live here.
Today, Tórshavn is a modern and
cosmopolitan town which has its highly individual location in the middle of the
North Atlantic to thank for its very special charm and appeal. We’ve got
excellent hotels and restaurants, modern European-style cafés and bars, great
arts exhibitions, top-notch sporting facilities, not to mention a lively
weekend club scene. All this is Tórshavn! When are you coming?