Architecture · Photography · Travel

Friday photo: turf roofs

A cobblestoned street, with turf-roofed wooden houses and an old-fashioned street lamp, in the old part of Tórshavn, the Faroe Islands. The islands get a lot of rain (it rains on 300 days of the year, apparently) and turf roofs provide insulation and protection from the very wet weather. Roofs like these have been a feature of the Faroes for over 1000 years.

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Turf roofs and cobblestones, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.
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10 thoughts on “Friday photo: turf roofs

  1. I wonder if the Faroese encourage their cattle to graze on the roofs. I recently found myself walking on a gentle slope outside a Visitor Centre in Northumbria and ending up on the roof of the café where I had just enjoyed lunch. The roof was being used to grow the tough grasses and wild flowers that flourished on the whin gravel and dust that was a feature of the local geology.

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    1. That’s a fascinating idea, cattle grazing on the roofs. I believe they do mow some of the roofs in the Faroes, although it must be rather an undertaking getting a lawnmower up there. Perhaps they have a specially adapted one. I remember that roof in Northumbria, very interesting it was too.

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    1. It is a most interesting place to visit, although it’s a good idea to take waterproof clothing. The Faroe Islands are about halfway between Scotland and Iceland, and Tórshavn is more than 600 miles north of where I live. Despite the islands being relatively close to the UK they’re not somewhere most Brits would think to visit. I suppose the weather isn’t much of a draw, and it’s quite expensive and not that easy to get there. I went by sea but I don’t think there are any regular sailings between the Faroes and Scotland any more.

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  2. That’s a great idea, and an old one as well! Lovely photo and an interesting glimpse of the Faroes. I like your Dad’s idea of grazing cattle on the roof. Possibly only a small herd? Rabbits might be easier? 🙂

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  3. Love the red buildings. They have a Nordic look and the turf roof seems like a very sensible and practical idea. I do like the idea of rabbits rather than cattle on the roof…. or goats.😁 So glad you had a nice trip. Was the food interesting and the people friendly? Guess that could be another post!

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    1. You’re right, Wendy, the buildings do look Nordic, and they do the same thing with turf roofs in other parts of Scandinavia. I was only in the Faroes for three days some years ago and what I remember most about it was how striking the scenery was.

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