Changing Places: Hveragerdi, Iceland
Places are dynamic and always undergoing change and development. Changing Places: Hveragerdi supports this key geography theme by considering the factors that have influenced the development and characteristics of Hveragerdi, a small town in southern Iceland.
For those traveling with Discover the World Education, we have a special Hveragerdi walking tour available which complements these resources. Please contact your Travel Specialist for more details.
Hveragerdi is sited on naturally occurring hot springs, the surface manifestation of deep-seated geothermal activity tied in with the constructive plate margin which stretches through the centre of Iceland.
Originally, these boiling springs represented danger and created a hostile environment for people. However, this perception slowly changed as local people realised the value of the hot water from the year-round ‘warm’ River Varma for cooking, washing clothes and producing electricity.
Greenhouses were constructed, heated by the hot water, producing flowers and vegetables. In 1938, one of the first swimming pools in Iceland was built here to take advantage of the warm water.
In the mid-20th century, poets and artists were attracted to live and work in the town adding a new dimension to its character.
Hveragerdi has experienced more change recently with the growing tourism industry in the area. Many visitors include Hveragerdi as part of the traditional ‘golden circle’ tour around other nearby landmarks. Tourists are attracted to the area for its unique geothermal activity, by restaurants, cafes, and opportunities for horse-riding and walking.
The video is being supported by some complementary resources from Cross Academe’s title ‘JustTeach A-Level Geography: Changing Places.’