Godafoss ÔÇô Iceland - Atlas Obscura
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Godafoss

This elegant arc of a waterfall marks a religious turning point. 

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The story of the Go├░afoss (Waterfall of the Gods) is that of IcelandÔÇÖs remarkably democratic conversion to Christianity in the year 1000.

The question before the Althing parliamentary assembly in that year was whether Iceland should embrace Christianity, or continue in ÔÇťthe old custom.ÔÇŁ The assembled lawmakers were bitterly divided. According to the ├Źslendingab├│k, a civil war was narrowly avoided through the leadership of a man named ├×orgeir Lj├│svetningago├░i. After a day and a night of meditation, Lj├│svetningago├░i, who was himself a pagan priest, decided in favor of Christianity. The compromise brokered by the Althing left pagans able to practice in private, even though Christianity became IcelandÔÇÖs official religion.

Following his monumental decision, Lj├│svetningago├░i formally converted to Christianity. To demonstrate his new faith, he threw idols of the old Norse gods into this waterfall, giving it its name. A thousand years later, a church named after Lj├│svetningago├░i was built nearby, complete with a stained glass window depicting his dramatic effigy disposal.

Today, Godafoss remains one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, running through B├ír├░ardalur and Kinn in the countryÔÇÖs northeastern corner. At 30 meters wide and curving gently along a semicircular rim, it falls 12 meters into a frothing pool - a sight for the gods in more ways than one.