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Selatangar is one of the few examples of a fishing station in Iceland that still remains as ruins.Photo from: The Ruins of Selatangar. 

Selatangar is the ruins of a coastal fishing station in Iceland.

It can be found in the south of the Reykjanes Peninsula, 14 kilometres (8.5 miles) east of the town of Grindavik.

History at Selatangar

From the early 14th century to the 19th century, Icelanders built fishing stations as an essential supplement to their farmsteads, the fish being utilised for food and trade with visiting merchants.

For the fish, Icelanders could often acquire items otherwise unavailable on the island, such as coffee, alcohol and corn.

Regardless of the prize, life on these fishing stations was unbelievably difficult; those living there had to face not the only the notoriously challenging Icelandic weather, but also the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean. This was especially the case during the hazardous winter months, from November to May.

Selatangar was a notably dangerous fishing village, with jagged rocks just off shore that could shatter boats in bad weather. Its proximity to many other towns and ports, and the abundance of fish in the waters, however, meant that many risked it.

Those that did, however, had to endure freezing, uncomfortable, squalid living conditions. The commercialisation of fishing meant that from the 19th Century, people could finally stop resorting to such a dangerous and unpleasant way to sustain themselves.

Remains at Selatangar

Selatangar is a haunting and allegedly haunted place on the Reykjanes Peninsula.Photo from: The Ruins of Selatangar. 

At Selatangar, it is possible to find the deteriorating shells of huts used for hanging and drying fish. There are also the foundations of the stone hovels that the fishermen would have to stay in while it was the season.

Several information signs at the carpark tell you about this history, and the folklore of the area; it is said that a malicious ghost called Tanga Tómas haunts the land to this day.

To access Selatangar, follow the road to Krýsuvík, Route 42. From this road, move off onto Route 427. This road is only accessible to 4WD vehicles. Along this road, there is a signpost that directs you to the Selatangar carpark. Walking to the ruins from the car park takes approximately fifteen minutes.

 

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