Guided Tour to Prove Importance of Old Reykjavík Skip to content

Guided Tour to Prove Importance of Old Reykjavík

By Iceland Review

Urban planner Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson will lead a free guided walk around the old town in Reykjavík tonight, and with the aid of photographs from Reykjavík Museum of Photography, show participants the cultural value of the oldest part of the city.

The tour is called “Old Reykjavík – More Interesting than We Might Think” in light of recent discussions about the situation of central Reykjavík.

People who take a stroll in downtown Reykjavík and observe the condition of some of the buildings may have a hard time imagining the ambition involved in the development of the city in the beginning of the 20th century, Gunnlaugsson reasons.

In a period when Iceland was considered one of the poorest countries in Europe, city authorities were enthusiastic of developing a beautiful city center so that Icelanders, who gained independence from Denmark in 1944 after a long struggle, could be proud of their capital, as described in a press release from Reykjavík City.

With a mixture of domestic and foreign architecture, a special Icelandic building style was created and a unique city center emerged. Toady, many of the houses and streets constructed in the early 20th century are either gone or unrecognizable, so it is difficult to imagine how beautiful the city center once was and can become again.

With aid from old pictures, Gunnlaugsson will argue that city life in Reykjavík in the first decades of the 20th century was much more developed and the city center much more interesting than what we can imagine in the beginning of the 21st century.

The starting point for the free guided tour is in Grófin between Tryggvagata 15 and 17 at 8 pm. The walk takes one hour. The walk is in Icelandic, but on July 10 a so-called “Reykjavík Safari” walking tour will be offered in other languages as well.

The Reykjavík City Library, Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík Museum of Photography, the Reykjavík City Museum and Videy island will offer guided tours around the capital every Thursday from Grófin at 8 pm. Each hour-long tour is free, but participants have to buy a ticket for the ferry to Videy.

A free literary walk in English is offered from the same meeting point every Thursday at 5 pm.

Click here to read the program of the free Reykjavík tours.

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