No single place epitomizes the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Thingvellir. At Thingvellir – literally "Parliament Plains" – the Alþing General Assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Thingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. Today Thingvellir is a protected national shrine.
According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Althing. In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Thingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Thingvallavatn forming a unique natural entity, a magnificent showcase. The ability to witness the evolution and the formation of new species in a place like Lake Thingvallavatn is of immense value.
The Thingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth´s crust. Thingvellir was declared a national park in 1930. A law was passed designating Thingvellir as "a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged."