Those of you who have been here to Reykjavik might, or who live here will, recognize this spot on Hverfisgata, just in front of the National Theater. The stones in the center of the road are columnar basalt, found frequently here in Iceland and in many other places, including at the Devils Postpile National Park near Mammoth Lake, California and other volcanic hotspots around the world.
Hverfisgata, or Neighborhood Road, which runs parallel to Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik, was named in 1898 and has, since the turn of the 20th century been a main thoroughfare into the heart of the city. It runs through the so-called Skuggahverfi and I was told that it was once slated to be a kind of grand residential row, in the style of other large cities. Many of the apartments on this now-rundown street are amazingly spacious and impressive on the inside, with super-high ceilings and late-Victorian architectural flourishes. The idea never took, though, and by and large the street just became the easiest way to get downtown, with a steady stream of cars and busses dirtying the now-decaying facades. It's the dirty cousin to Laugavegur, but hopefully when our city gets back on its feet it will get some of the attention it deserves.
(Wondering about real estate in Iceland? Lots of foreign entities have been snatching up killer properties here recently, so here's a New York Times article you can read if you're interested in riding out future sea level rising in style : )
Posted by Iceland Eyes on May 09, 2011