Travel and Tourist Information
ABOVE: A panoramic view of Gjógv, on the island of Eysturoy. INSET BELOW: An oystercatcher bird.
In the early 1900s, the deputy superintendent of the Indian Museum of Calcutta had this to say about the people he met during a visit to the North Atlantic's Faroe Islands:
Times have changed. For one thing, British tourists no longer poke around Faroese cottages without permission--a side effect of the Empire's dissolution, no doubt. For another, this small country's natives have grown in physical stature over the years, while their "magnificently developed legs" have withered to normal proportions in an era of cars, buses, and motor ferries. And neither rocks nor sheep are as funny as they once were; today's Faroese are more likely to guffaw at a DVD from the local video store.
But enough of that. Just what are the Faroe Islands, and why should you visit them?
A country with a faith in cod
The 18 islands of the Faroes are in the North Atlantic, between Norway and Iceland. The islands, which are clustered together, look like mountains rising out of the sea. (In fact, that's exactly what they are--and rather large mountains at that, since the surrounding ocean drops quickly to a depth of nearly 2,500 feet.)
The Faroes became a self-governing community in 1948 after nearly six centuries of Danish rule. Although the islands receive heavy Danish subsidies and are nominally part of the Kingdom of Denmark, they have their own parliament, currency, stamps, and customs service.
The economy is based largely on cod fishing, with oil drilling providing a glimmer of hope for a population that has declined through emigration in recent years.
Whaling is another source of meat, if not money; for more on the that controversial (and threatened) Faroese village tradition, see page 6.)
Next page: Sightseeing in the Faroes
Top photo copyright © Christian Noval.
Last update: January 29, 2008
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