A Tale of Two Old Reykjavik Graveyards

Reykjavik has two old graveyards which are no longer in use. The first one is now a square just across the road from the Settlement Museum (which I highly recommend) and was in use from the settlement in the ninth century to about 1838 when the graveyard by Sudurgata was opened for busines. At the edge of the square you find the oldest tree in Reykjavik, a Swedish whitebeam which was planted by the then Danish born surgeon general of Iceland in 1884. He had actually turned the old disused graveyard into his own personal pleasure garden.

Great food in an old graveyard. What more can you ask for?
Great food in an old graveyard. What more can you ask for?

If you look closely at the south side of the square there are a few headstones from the early 19th and late 18th century on display in one corner of the square which now has the distinction of being the venue of the annual summer food market and being right by the excellent Skúli Craft Bar. Skúli Craft Bar is actually named after the founder of modern Reykjavik, Skúli Magnússon, whose statue adorns the old graveyard. A marker shows where the altar of the old church stood until 1796 when the nearby Reykjavik cathedral was inaugurated.

This Reykjavik graveyard is not the most cheerful of places.
This Reykjavik graveyard is not the most cheerful of places.

Although, Reykjavik was nothing more than a glorified village back then the old graveyard had filled up to a point where you couldn´t not dig a fresh grave without getting a lot of bones and pieces of coffins up with the dirt. So they opened up a new graveyard by Suðurdata. It has been full for a decade or so but it is one of the hidden gems of Reykjavik.

Headstones.
Headstones.

It is a serene place and if you are into Icelandic history, some important people are buried there. But I suppose you will enjoy the most for the peace and quiet and the change for some nice photography.

Rest in Peace.
Rest in Peace.

Nearby attractions include

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A Tale of Two Old Reykjavik Graveyards

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