Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan

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The geographical chronicle Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈleːiðarvisɪr ɔːɣ ˈpɔrkar̥scɪpan]) was published in c. 1157 AD by Níkulás Bergsson (a.k.a. Nikolaos), the abbot of the monastery of Þverá in Þingeyrar, Northern Iceland.

The publication is basically a guidebook for pilgrims about the routes from Northern Europe to Rome and Jerusalem. It contains two descriptions of lands around Norway that the Abbot seems to have acquired for his book from independent sources:

Götaland (Gautland) is east of the River Göta (Gautelfi), and closest to it is Sweden (Svíþjóð), then closest is Hälsingland (Helsingaland), then Finland (Finnland); then come the borders of Russia (Garðaríki), which we mentioned earlier. But on the other side of Götaland is Denmark --

Closest to Denmark is little Sweden (Svíþjóð), there is Öland (Eyland); then is Gotland (Gotland); then Hälsingland (Helsingaland); then Värmland (Vermaland); then two Kvenlands (Kvenlönd), and they extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmalandi). From Bjarmia, uninhabited lands stretch in the north to the borders of Greenland (Grænland) --[1]

The first description lists Finland, but not Kvenland. The second one mentions "two Kvenlands", but not Finland. It has been presumed, that by "two Kvenlands" here the abbot probably referred to Kvenland and Finland, as the two were both inhabited by culturally quite similar type of Finnic peoples/tribes (in addition to the Uralic Sami) that in other Islandic sources are sometimes said to have been ruled by the same kings.

The location of the 12th century Kvenland is said to be to the north from Värmland, and Kvenland is said to extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmaland). This information coincides with information provided in other medieval accounts and old maps.


In the following list there are the towns in the different itineraries described in Leiðarvísir,[2] grouped by country and with a question mark in case it is not possible correlate them to current places:







  1. ^ Carl Christian Rafn. Antiquités Russes d'apres les Monuments historiques des Islandais et des Anciens Scandinave (in French). pp. 404–405. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ Peter Robins. "Medieval Itineraries: Nikulas of Munkathvera". Retrieved May 18, 2014. 

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