Beginning of New Year in Vakta.
Beginning of New Year in Vakta.
Vakta car on the road
Vakta guests on a day trip sent us this great picture, which they named. “It’s the pot of gold ”
Happy New Year
In 2015 we had a wonderful guests from all over the world; Mexico, Dubai, Italy, Spain, Austria, USA, UK, Russia, Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland,
We wish all our guest a Happy New Year and hope to get the opportunity of welcome you again.
Christmas in Vakta
Christmas in Vakta is a wonderful experience for the whole family and there you find the true spirit of Christmas.
In December Reykjavík was dressed in white.
The snowfall was 42 centemeters, a new record since 1937.
Vakta looked like a clip from an old Christmas movie.
New member in the Vakta family
Vakta bought a Citroén C3 in 2014, that is included in the rent.
The car is eco friendly and therefore it can be parked for free in Reykjavík.
An excellent car for guests to take day trips to the country site or driving around town.
July 2013. The first guests were newlyweds that spent the weekend in the house. Happily ever after!
Archeological digs at Vakta
The Icelandic Institute of Archeology published a report on experimental digs at the eastern and northern limits of the property, which took place in January of 2009.
Overview picture of the earlier stages of the building
The dig revealed a rocky cellar on the east side of the house, which had been dug down to a flat rock bed at a maximum depth of 1.5 meters. The rock piles were made from both natural and carved rocks.
The house was measured and drawn in October and November of 2008. The newer outdoor planking was taken down to reveal the older layers, but the restoration did no go all the way to the frame of the house. After this, proposals were made for the reconstruction of the house with changes and additions with respect to the age and type of the house as well as the protection provisions. Residence in the building spans two centuries.
Finalizing the project
2008 The city of Reykjavík relinquishes the property to Minjavernd (Heritage Protection)
By 2008, Vakta has been abandoned for decades and plans for destroying the house were on their way. In June of 2008, the city of Reykjavik relinquished the property on Gardastræti 23 to Minjavernd hf. which took on the reconstruction of the building. According to the architect Nikulas Ulvar Masson, the house has a huge potential for preservation:
Vakta is most likely the first wooden house in the Grjoti village and the only remaining building of the old Grjoti farm. In addition, it is the birth place of Sigvaldi Kaldalons. By restoring the house using tar, wooden plankings and white windows, the house will resemble most houses in Reykjavik around 150 year ago. It will be a great testament to the first privately owned permanent buildings. This house will no doubt be a gem in the heart of Reykjavik.
The first steps of restoration
Only a few years ago, the protection of houses and research on the history of buildings were considered to be an oddity, even disregarded by authorities who spoke with disdain of ‘worthless wood from Denmark’. More progressive people were of the opinion that tearing down old buildings was an important part of the creation of more densely populated areas in older neighbourhoods, which should be prioritized along with the building of newer neighbourhoods. Working class leaders were against restoring older houses and argued that there was no reason to keep such cold and damp places, which impoverished the general health of those who live in them. Luckily, times have changed.
The history of buildings has become an important part of the research on the cultural heritage of the Icelandic people. Now, communities and town authorities are competing to bring back to life old houses such that passers-by may stop and appreciate them. The protection of Vakta is a positive step in this direction.
Vakta in disrepair
Gardastræti, looking towards Vakta (visible behind the house).
A Christmas tree caught on fire on Christmas Day and it was the only reported fire over the holiday season that year. Nobody was injured but a minor damage to the house.
The house was inhabited until the 1960’s. Seen from Oldugata. Vakta on the right.
Fish workers in Reykjavik
The Women Liberty Day in Austurvollur.
1881 Sigvaldi Kaldalóns is born in the house
Stefan Egilsson, changed the house from a warehouse into a house in 1880 and moved into it with his wife Sesselja Sigvaldadottir. They had seven sons, all of which we born in the house. Two of them died in infancy, but the others became renowned nationally. Their children were Sigvaldi Kaldalons (1881-1946), a doctor, composer an national icon, Gudmundur Adalsteinn, one of the country’s foremost wrestlers, Snæbjorn, a well known trawler captain, and Eggert, a famous singer who sang throughout Europe and America. Sigvaldi Kaldalons composed more than two hundred songs, many of which became very popular, such as A Sprengisandi, Hamraborgin and Svanasongur á heidi. He also composed a few choir songs, such as Island ogrum skorid.
View from Landakot. Vakta is to the left.
The house was first inhabited.
People from that era.
Drawing from 1840 of the old farms of Grjoti.
Built in 1840
Vakta is a 170 year old historical house which up until recently was used for storage. The name Vakta (‘The Watchman’s Farm’) comes from Gudmundur Gissurarson, who was Reykjavik’s watchman from 1830 to 1865 and most likely built the house in or shortly before 1848. The title of watchman had existed in Reykjavik since 1780. The house, called after its owner’s profession, was part of the Grjoti neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Reykjavik. Vakta is considered a unique historical site and was rebuilt with great fidelity to the original house. The house is now a protected heritage site.