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Holar University College


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Hólar University College is a growing institution offering quality graduate and undergraduate education and a robust research program. The institution is an internationally recognized center for teaching and research in three highly specialized fields equine science, aquaculture and aquatic biology, and tourism studies.
Hólar in Hjaltadalur has a long history of schools and education. Bishop Jón Ögmundsson's cathedral school was founded in 1106, and after the Reformation in 1550, the school was converted to a Latin school that remained in operation until 1801. In 1882, an agricultural school was established at Hólar, and Hólar University College traces its roots to that institution. During the past 15 years, the school at Hólar has developed from a conventional agricultural school to a new university-level institution.
Hólar University College aims to enhance knowledge and professionalism in the economic sectors and cultural activities related to its fields of specialization. The institution contributes significantly to the academic and professional communities both locally and globally by high standards in teaching, vigorous research programs, strong industry relations, and active transnational collaboration. Hólar University College offers excellent research and study facilities.
On-campus, the architectural history of Iceland can be traced from traditional turf houses to the present day. The school has a policy of safeguarding this heritage through sustainable use. The main building, which houses the department of tourism, is two of the first architects in Iceland and dates from 1910 and 1927, respectively. Among the most important architectural landmarks in Iceland is the cathedral consecrated in 1763.
Although Hólar is not mentioned in the Icelandic sagas, it is thought that it was settled by people from the early settlement of Hof, which is about 2,5 km south of Hólar. Hof, which is mentioned in the sagas, was paid by Hjalti Þórðarson, whose sons became famous for their generosity and gallantry. The story tells that when they buried their father, they gave the most extensive known burial feast in pagan times. Twelve hundred guests were invited, and after the feast, all men of distinction were sent on their way with valuable gifts. There is no doubt that their nobility and their descendants helped establish the fame and prosperity of Hólar.
In the middle of the eleventh century, a kinsman of the Hof family named Oxi Hjaltason, who lived in Hólar, built a great church. Around the year 1100, Hólar was owned by Illugi Bjarnason, who, when a bishop's seat was established in northern Iceland, gave Hólar to the Church for that purpose.
During Catholic times, Hólar accumulated great wealth and was densely populated. During the peak of the bishop's seat era, Hólar owned 352 estates that accounted for about a quarter of all the estates in the north of the country. Apart from that, it enjoyed the privilege of driftwood (a valuable resource) along with rights to other advantages in several surrounding areas. The first printing press in Iceland was installed here around 1530, and Hólar was the last stronghold of the Catholic Church during the Reformation. The present cathedral, consecrated in 1763, is the oldest stone church in Iceland.
Hólar remained a bishop's seat for almost seven centuries from 1106 until 1802 when Hólar was sold. During that era, Hólar was the exact center of northern Iceland and one of the urgent cultural centers of the area. This status was partly due to the school that was around there for most of this time.
During Catholic times, Hólar accumulated great wealth and was densely populated. During the peak of the bishop's seat era, Hólar owned 352 estates that accounted for about a quarter of all the estates in the north of the country. Apart from that, it enjoyed the privilege of driftwood (a valuable resource) along with rights to other advantages in several surrounding areas. The first printing press in Iceland was installed here around 1530, and Hólar was the last stronghold of the Catholic Church during the Reformation. The present cathedral, consecrated in 1763, is the oldest stone church in Iceland.
Hólar remained a bishop's seat for almost seven centuries from 1106 until 1802 when Hólar was sold. During that era, Hólar was the exact center of northern Iceland and one of the important cultural centers of the area. This status was partly due to the school that was around there for most of this time.


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