The so-called Old Harbor of Reykjavik is the first lasting harbor of the town. It was constructed between 1913 and 1917 on the cove Reykjavik, after which the farm of the first settler and later the town were named.
The Danish monopoly trading was moved from the spit of land called Orfirisey in 1780 to Reykjavik. During the 19th century the merchants constructed their own short and small piers as extensions from the warehouses into the cove. The municipal authorities did not participate until after 1850, when harbor pilots were engaged to ensure the safety of the seafaring people. A signal mark was built by the Akurey-reef in 1856 and the first tariff of the harbor was issued.
A Danish engineer was hired to evaluate the harbor conditions and make suggestions for the harbor construction. The budget of the town was too low to accommodate the expenses of the project at the time and only minor improvements were carried out. After 1860 the municipality contracted the common use of the piers built and owned by the merchants and paid lease. In 1884 the municipality constructed the so-called Stone Pier.
Shortly after the turn of the century, the entrepreneur and poet Einar Benediktsson established the joint-stock company Hofn with wealthy financiers in England for the purpose of building a harbor in Reykjavik. This project was commenced and the competition between those, who wanted the harbor, where it is now, and this limited company started. It most probably hastened the construction of the Old Harbor.
In 1911 the town council agreed to construct the harbor, based on the plans of the harbor master of Kristiania (now Oslo) from 1909. The Danish engineer N.C. Monbergs’ offer for the construction was accepted and the work started in 1913.
Two locomotives were used to transport the building materials from the hills Skolavorduholt and Oskjuhlid to the construction site. The progress was rather quick and the first ship was docked in 1915. increased during the next decades and landfills increased the space by the harbour.
Continuous improvements and landfills have taken place on the spit Orfirisey, where various firms have built their headquarters. In 1960 the town council agreed on a long breakwater between Orfirisey and the island Engey, but this project was not realized. Instead ideas about freight harbors in the Island Videy Area were accepted and the cement (gravel and asphalt) and Vatnagardar harbors were finished in 1968 and the Holtabakki harbor in 1980-81. A marina was finished in 2003.
Photo Credit: Íslandsstofa