Combining a 120-year-old map and modern 3D rendering techniques have yielded some amazing results.
One of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, Iceland’s boundaries are almost the same as the main island – the world’s 18th largest in area that has almost all of the country’s area and population. It is the westernmost European country and has more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe.
Iceland’s unique geography and landscapes makes it look like a place straight of the Lord of the Rings – even though the movie was not filmed there. In fact, the famed author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the creator of the first fantasy world, J. R. R. Tolkien, was very much inspired by Iceland. Aspects of the landscape, the language, folk tales, and Norse mythology were influential in shaping the legendary fantasy world of Middle Earth.
Tolkien had an Icelandic nanny from the West Fjords who lived with the author and his family in the early 1930s in Oxford, England. It was through the nanny that the author became further acquainted with Icelandic folk tales and mythology and was able to practice Icelandic. He began writing The Hobbit during this time.
It comes by no surprise, therefore, that topopgraphic maps of Iceland also look like as if they were straight out of Tolkien’s fantasy world. Especially if they’re made to look even more 3-dimensional. This is exactly what happened when Reddit user fluffybuddha decided to create a 3D rendering of an old Icelandic topographic map from 1901. The results speak for themselves. Welcome to Middle Earth!
(Click map to enlarge)