Videy is the largest island of the Kollafjord Bay (1,7 km²) with its highest point rising 32 m above sea level. It is divided by a short isthmus and the western part is called The West Island. The larger part, with the church and the Videyjarstofa Restaurant, is called The Home Island and the southeastern part is called The East Island. About two million years ago the central volcano of Videy was active and a vast caldera had been created. When the volcanic activity ceased, the wind-, water- and glacier abrasion set in and continued until the undulating, hilly landscape as we see it nowadays was fully shaped.
At the end of the ice age the sea level stood 40 – 50 m higher than now, but gradually the land started rising about 9000 – 10.000 years ago and the islands started appearing. The oldest rock strata of Videy are layered hyaloclastites mixed with pillow lava and gabbro. Several spots on the island depict beautiful basaltic columns. The structure of The West Island and the eastern shoreline is the gray basalt (dolerite), dating about 200.000 years back. The Videy Island is well vegetated and boggy in places. About 156 species of higher plants have been found on the island and the avifauna is highly interesting.
At least 30 species of breeding birds have been counted, the most common ones are eiders and the lesser black backed gull. Archaeological excavations have disclosed the fact, that the island was inhabited already in the 10th century. In the 12th century a church was built on the island and in 1225 an Augustine monastery was established there. It was abolished in 1539 after the reformation had started in Iceland.
The Videyjarstofa house, where the restaurant is now, was built in 1755 and is thus the first construction made of stone and cement in the country. The church was consecrated in 1774 and is the second oldest one still standing. The island became the seat of the first Icelandic treasurer and later the first Icelandic sub-governor. In the beginning of the 20th century the country’s first harbour for ocean going vessels was built on the eastern part of the island and a hamlet developed there.
The last inhabitant left it in 1943, when the harbour of Reykjavik had taken over. Two hiking paths take you to all the corners of the island. Both start behind the restaurant, close to the lavatories. Regular ferry services are offered the whole year round as can be seen on the table below. A horse rental and a riding school are operated on the island during summer.
On the 9th of October 2007, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon inaugurated the “Imagine Peace Tower” on John Lennon’s birthday on the island. It is a laser beam which penetrates the sky until December 8th, Lennon’s assassination day, and on other mayjor occasions. Yoko and Sean were present at the unveiling of the symbolic token of man’s hope for peace on this earth. This family certainly left us with some food for thought and a reminder to mankind.
The “Imagine Peace Tower” was relighted on December 21st, winter solstice, and beamed until new years eve 2007.
Photo Credit: Visit Reykjavík