Living Under the Winter Ice~

Thank you, Cindy, for this visual journey through these cozy, partly underground houses in Iceland. One of our sons made a car tour all around Iceland and brought home some fascinating photos and later even created a fascinating video. I am sure that my blogging friends would love to see your photos too. That’s why I reblog it with your kind permission.


Laufas is an old turf house in Northern Iceland. There are many of these partially underground historical sod houses in Iceland. The house was built between 1866-1870. The houses are very large and multi-level, with one floor completely underground. In this photo you can see the sod brick construction which has stood the test of time and Iceland’s formidable winters.

Laufas house facades are made of wood which is quite scarce in Iceland.

There are underground passages,

and underground rooms.

These houses are snug,

but quite spacious,

and not at all claustrophobic inside.

20-30 people lived in Laufas House.

The houses give one a sense of communal underground living,

that was heat efficient during Iceland’s unforgiving winters.

Laufas House was a wealthy priest’s house, and some rooms are more polished and finished than others.

This was a working farm, on a gorgeous site, with a church that was originally built…

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16 Replies to “Living Under the Winter Ice~”

  1. I’ve always been curious about underground, or earth-covered houses. I wonder which direction the windows face? I like the skylights in the one picture. Very cozy looking. Interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome photo essay, I did not even know these were a thing….these homes of sod. We had them in America during Westward Pioneer times. I’ve seen several small soddies in Nebraska. Sod homes were always the first home on the land, then, if the farmer were successful, they built a wood home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gorgeous. In India, as well, a lot of independent houses nowadays are built with one floor underground. The objective is exactly the opposite. The underground parts stay cool in the harsh heat of the Indian summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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