19th Century · 20th Century · Reykjavik

“The largest and oldest museum in Reykjavik” – Hólavallagarður cemetery

A number of posts I’ve written for this blog so far have focused on graveyards, particularly the grand Victorian graveyards of London.  However, the graveyard featured in this post lies 1,000 miles from London, on a quiet hillside in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.


Unlike Britain, Iceland has no long history of cities as we would recognise them.  Settled by the Vikings in the late 9th Century, Iceland has always had a small population (today it is around 300,000) and settlements tended to be small.  Reykjavik has long been settled – today, one can visit the remains of a 10th Century longhouse discovered during demolition works in the 20th Century – but it only began life as a town in the mid-18th Century.  The oldest buildings in the city are on Aðalstræti (“main street”), close to where the Viking longhouse is situated.

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