Time Capsule: The Old Prison - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Time Capsule: The Old Prison

Time Capsule: The Old Prison

Published July 17, 2017

Photos by
Johanna Eriksson

The old prison in Reykjavík (called “Hegningarhúsið” in Icelandic), located just down the street from Hallgrímskirkja, pretty much looks like how one would imagine an old prison to look, when you think about it: grey, dark and frankly not the most accommodating edifice in town. But despite that, one could easily have missed that it was indeed actually functioning as a prison until as late as June 2016, when it said farewell to its last inmate. Without anything such as visible guards or a fence, there was nothing except its gloomy look to hint about what kind of activity was going on inside the thick stone walls.

The building dates all the way back to 1874, and between 1920-1949 it also served as a courthouse. It’s sometimes referred to as “Nían” (“The Nine”) due to its street address, Skólavörðustígur 9. Time will tell what the future holds for the facility.


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