The Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi) is the national parliament (literally: “[the] all-thing“, or general assembly) of Iceland. It is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world. The Althing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir, the “assembly fields” or “Parliament Plains”, situated approximately 45 km east of what later became the country’s capital, Reykjavík. This event marked the beginning of the Icelandic Commonwealth. Even after Iceland’s union with Norway in 1262, the Althing still held its sessions at Þingvellir until 1799, when it was discontinued for 45 years. It was restored in 1844 and moved to Reykjavík, where it has resided ever since. The present parliament building, the Alþingishús, was built in 1881, of hewn Icelandic stone.
Þingvellir is a place in Bláskógabyggð in southwesternIceland, near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area. Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also home to Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.