From Iceland — Iceland's Goðafoss Waterfall Granted Protected Status

Iceland’s Goðafoss Waterfall Granted Protected Status

Published June 12, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Goðafoss, one of Iceland’s best-loved waterfalls, has been granted protected status by the Environmental Ministry.

The waterfall’s new protected status means it will be looked after and monitored by conservation teams. There will also be efforts to educate visitors about Goðafoss’ history and ecological significance.

Spanning 30 metres in width and reaching 17 metres at its highest point, Goðafoss it is one of Northern Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls and a favourite for tourists. It is located on the Skjálfandafljót river and is made up of two main waterfalls and several smaller offshoots.

“Today we protect one of the most important natural wonders in the country,” Minister of the Environment, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson said at a ceremony held on June 11th. “The protection of Goðafoss is an extremely gratifying step for nature conservation in Iceland and ensures that future generations can enjoy [the waterfall] for the ages to come.”

Legend has it that the name ‘Goðafoss’ – ‘falls of the gods’ – refers to former pagan priest and lawspeaker at the Alþingi in the 10th century Þorgeir Þorkelsson’s rejection of Norse paganism. According to the Íslendingabók, Þorgeir threw his statues of Norse gods into the waters to mark Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity and his personal change in beliefs.

You can find a full list of Icelandic beauty spots with protected status here.

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