Sandgerði, Southern Peninsula, Iceland

Sandgerði, Southern Peninsula, Iceland
The town of Sandgerði is located on the western side of Reykjanes peninsula. The municipality borders reach from Lambarif by Garðskagi in the north, along the coast to Garður and Laira to the east, and all the way to Ósbotnar by Hafnir to the south. The Leifur Eiríksson International Airport is also within the municipality's boundaries.

The west coast faces the open ocean. The coast line is relatively low and sandy, but dangerous reefs lie just off the coast. The Miðnesheiði moor rises up from the grown lowland by the coast.

On December 3, 1990, Sandgerði attained town rights, and is as of now, the youngest town in Iceland. Inhabitants number close to 1350, and in 1992 Sandgerði boasted the highest population growth in all of Iceland.

The community began estblishing itself around the turn of the century when motor-boats were being introduced for fishing in Iceland. Today, Sandgerði is one of the country's major fishing communitites. Rich fishing-grounds are found just off the coast of Sandgerði, and in recent years good harbour facilities have been installed in Sandgerði.

In 1986 the community celebrated its 100th anniversary. For that occasion, a monument in honour of seamen was inaugurated. The monument, Álög, is made by sculptor Steinunn Þórarinssdóttir, and is to remind us of how small and insignificant human existance can be when dealing with the powerful ocean.

In the northern part of town is Sandgerðistjörn pond, where hundreds of migratory birds gather each spring. The town's oldest house, after which the town of Sandgerði was named, stands by the pond. The house was erected in 1883. It was built of wood that came from the merchant ship, Jamestown, which inexplicably ran aground, with no living soul to be found aboard, in 1881 by Þórshöfn, in the southern part of the community.

On the coast-line, north and south of Sandgerði, there are many beautiful spots to visit, and some of them have historical significance. By Hafurbjarnastaður, between Garður and Sandgerði, there are graves from pre-christian times, which were discovered in 1947. The graves are considered a very important discovery, and remains from one of the graves are now on display at the National Museum of Iceland. In this same area there is a good 9-hole golfcourse.

There is a lot to see on the route south to Stafnes. Approximately 6 km from Sandgerði is the church of Hvalneskirkja. The church was built out of stone in 1887, and one of Iceland's most cherished poets, Hallgrímur Pétursson, served there as a priest for a number of years. Inside the church is the tombstone of Pétursson's daughter, Steinunn. The tombstone was found in a walling and is thought to have been made by the poet himself.
 
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