The waterfalls at Þingvellir are truly spectacular. Not in terms of pure power, or the height from which it falls, but because of the geology of the region. A long plain ends abruptly here, where the falls empty into a narrow crack in the earth. The river meanders a short distance north before making a u turn and falling through the other wall of the crack to make its way down to Þingvallavatn – the largest lake in Iceland.
Iceland created the parliamentary style of government here in 930 AD. It was called the Alþingi. Icelanders had all left countries ruled by kings, and they wanted no part of that. Þingvellir was chosen as the spot where the people would meet annually to create laws and settle differences. It was a perfect spot – located centrally on the main travel paths through the country, it had ample fresh water and wood for the gatherings, and the steep canyon wall made an excellent spot to address large crowds.