Skansin is located on a hill beside the port of Tórshavn. The fort was built in 1580 by Magnus Heinason to protect against pirate raids of the town, after he himself was nearly caught up in one such raid. The fort was expanded considerably in 1780 and went through a series of rebuilds for many years afterwards. During the Second World War the fort served Britain as a military base. Two guns date from the British occupation, standing along with many older Danish cannons.
One of the Faroese lighthouses, the Skansin Lighthouse, towers over the fortress, pointing the way to the capital. The strategic location of the fort offers tourists picturesque views of Tórshavn port, surrounding landscape and views out towards Nólsoy island.
Tórshavn is the capital and largest city of the Faroe Islands, a country situated between Scotland and Iceland. Tórshavn is located in the southern part on the east coast of Streymoy. To the northwest of the city lies the 347-meter high mountain Húsareyn, and to the southwest, the 350-meter high Kirkjubøreyn. The town proper has a population of around 15,000.
The Vikings established their parliament on the Tinganes peninsula in 850 CE.Tórshavn thus became the capital of the Faroe Islands and has remained so ever since. All through the Middle Ages the narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea made up the main part of Tórshavn. Early on, Tórshavn became the centre of the islands’ trade monopoly, thereby being the only legal place for the islanders to sell and buy goods. In 1856, the trade monopoly was abolished and the islands were left open to free trade.