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.

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.


    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? 🙂


  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!


    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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