Old Gardur Lighthouse

Suðurnesjabær, Iceland | C.1897

Photo Credit: Panni David

The Old Gardur Lighthouse is located in Iceland on the northern point of the Reykjanes peninsula. It was one of the first lighthouses built in the country, dating back to 1897.

Gardur means garden or yard, and the town was named after one of the many earthen walls once erected on the boundaries between local properties. Also spelled “Gardur”, it was mentioned in the Book of Settlement when Ingolfur Arnarson, the first settler in Iceland, gave his cousin Steinunn Gamla this area of land.

There are two lighthouses in the area. The depicted lighthouse is not only older, but also the smaller of the two and was once regarded as one of the best lighthouses in Iceland because it stood low and therefore mist was not a problem. However there was risk of the lighthouse being damaged because of surf and it was sometimes not visible because of sea storm.

The square building, made out of concrete, stands 12.5 meters high and 3.25 meters wide on each side. Connected to the building is a small room for the lighthouse keeper. Around the lighthouse is a 3 meter high platform, all made out of cut stones

The tower had good quality light equipment that was fueled by gas, consisting of a lens turned by a weight-driven clockwork. The keeper had to hand wind the clockwork mechanism every four hours, which made it necessary for him to stay in the lighthouse, even at night. In later decades, it became dangerous for the keepers to stay in the lighthouse when breakers were high, so they would stay in the keeper’s house.

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