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Reykjavik burned the other night. Or at least a part of it did. Anyone whose ever been to this city has walked, or at least driven, past the site of the recent conflagration: the corner of Lækjargata and Austurstræti, or just between the red 3 and the red 10 on this map.

This is the back view of the green timber Cafe Opera/Kebabhús building that sits facing Lækjargata. It was basically gutted, but it looks like the support structure is still intact, which is more than can be said for the white Pravda building that faces Austurstræti. It was totally demolished from the roof down, except for the exterior walls.

It turns out a little belatedly that the Pravda building is one of the oldest in Reykajvik (though only 200 years old) and has a deep history in the city's development. I say belatedly because it's housed one skanky bar/club after another for the past, at least, twenty years. Not many people knew that underneath the beer-stained hardwood and past the deeply saturated smell of cigarettes that a historical gem resided. At least I didn't know.

Everyone's determined to rectify that cultural mistake now, though, by rebuilding it and doing something proper with this slice of city history the next time around.


Anonymous said...

Boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head with this one. How many realized this was such a historic site?

Luis said...

I didn't realise this was a historical building either. Our first ever visit to Iceland coincided with the fire and we were struck just how much news coverage a fire at a nightclub got ! That said I can understand particularly as it is so central in Reykjavik.

Thanks for your blog. The great photos were one of the factors that encouraged me to visit Iceland.

Iceland Eyes said...

So now you know, Luis! Actually, in the same vein as CNN-style, on the scene live news coverage, Icelandic media is becoming better and better at making news. There was even, for about a year, a All-News-All-The-Time channel here, but seventy percent of the time they just described about the weather, interviewed people about the weather, forcasted the weather and so forth. I suppose that a fire in a downtown area in any city is pretty newsworthy, though.

Oh, and thank you so much for the complement on my photos. And what a complement it is!