Reykjavík Of Yore: A Spinning Political Monument - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reykjavík Of Yore: A Spinning Political Monument

Reykjavík Of Yore: A Spinning Political Monument

Published July 14, 2017

Valur Grettisson
Photos by
Art Bicnick
Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur

Perlan in Öskjuhlíð is some kind of Icelandic version of a Ferris wheel. The restaurant on top of the old tanks where Reykvíkingar used to store their hot water turns slowly, so guests can see the whole city from their seat if they stay in it for two hours.

Perlan is a monument of Davíð Oddsson’s time as mayor of Reykjavík. The structure was opened to the public in 1991, the same year he became Prime Minister of Iceland. Davíð felt that Reykjavík had little to offer to tourists—at that time, there were around three tourists every year, probably all German.

Davíð was criticised heavily over the cost of Perlan (the equivalent to roughly $64 million dollars at the time), and it didn’t help when, soon after, fourteen visitors got stuck in an elevator and almost suffocated because the emergency bell didn’t work. But Perlan is there, and the tourists (which are around four every year now, and probably all English) go there and buy ice cream in this weird spinning political monument.


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