Natural hazards as intangible Cultural and Natural Heritage for human resilience in South Iceland

Where we are

Katla UNESCO Global Geopark is situated in central south Iceland, reaching from the south coast with its black volcanic beaches into the highlands in the north with majestic glaciers. Most of the active volcanoes are covered with glaciers, which makes this hazardous territory in every sense the land of ice and fire.




Ice-capped volcanoes, tuff mountains, vast lava flows and sandur plains with their black beaches are some of the prominent features in the Katla UNESCO Global Geopark along with majestic waterfalls and islands protruding from the sand plains of the lowland. Glaciers are prominent in the landscape covering the highest mountains and volcanoes in the area, with subsequent glacial formations. This gorgeous territory with a high geographical diversity of great geological heritage value presents high risks related to various natural hazards.

The role of cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, is great for strengthening personal awareness about survival of natural hazards, mostly but not solely related to eruptions, glacial water, rivers and subsequent outbreaks in Katla Geopark.

In the past, raising awareness of inhabitants to the unpredictable nature of the natural forces of the area was traditionally done through storytelling, intertwined with names and rituals as well as the actual hardship of daily life.

Today, Katla UNESCO Global Geopark has a successful collaboration among municipalities and Governmental agencies to provide guidance and assistance to local population and numerous tourists on how to protect themselves and cooperate with rescue squads during and after a disaster event.

Rural Heritage Hub

The Rural Heritage Hub is located in the venue of Kirkjubæjarstofa in Kirkjubæjarklaustur village. Kirkjubæjarstofa is a formal partner of Katla UNESCO Global Geopark. The centre, which was established by locals with the assistance from enthusiastic scientists in 1990 as a research and culture centre has plenty of experience in cultural work.

Katla Hub
Role Model