In the far north-east of Iceland, beyond Husavik and Asbyrgi, lies a wild region often overlooked by tourists.
The climate here is punishing, and the small town of Raufarhöfn with its 194 inhabitants is where you'll find the bulk of the Melrakkaslétta peninsula's population.
The entire Melrakkaslétta coastline offers a landscape similar to Raudinupur: sheer cliffs and volcanic black beaches alive with birdlife and strewn with driftwood carried from Siberia by a raging Arctic sea. The town of Raufarhöfn is known for being one of the closest to the Arctic Circle, located about 2 km below the latitudinal line itself.
In the early 2000s, the owner of the Norðurljós hotel, Erlingur Thoroddsen, had an original idea to draw more tourists to this unique peninsula with its window into the Arctic. In 2004 began the construction of a huge structure in Raufarhöfn known locally as Heimskautsgerðið, internationally as The Arctic Henge.
Much like Stone Henge in Great Britain, this construction is a complex sundial. This modern design aims to capture the sun rays, cast shadows in precise locations, and play with the light of the midnight sun with a direct line of sight to the horizon. While merely a work in progress, this new Henge is already a huge symbol of the region.
The circular structure is built around 4 huge basalt columns, nearly 6 m tall, with at the center of the circle a 10m-tall archway supported by 4 pillars.
Once finalized, the stone walls, pillars, and arches will form a circle about 52 m in diameter with, at its center, a cut prism crystal that will divide sunlight into primary colors. There are plans to install a sundial and a number of other features...
Founder Erlingur Thoroddsen was largely inspired by the Völuspá, the best known of the Poetic Edda: “Prophecy of the Seeress”. In fact, this stone henge will feature a “dwarf path” of 72 stones naming each of these mythical dwarves to celebrate an ancient and esoteric calendar.
Arctic Henge is perched on a hill overlooking the village of Raufarhöfn, which makes for some beautiful shots, especially in summer with the midnight sun. You can already admire the silver light of the midnight sun by looking through the south gate through the central arch and north gate. Already this structure plays incredible tricks of shadow and light, and we can't wait to see what it looks like when finished.
Photo credit: Thomas Schnitzler@Fotolia