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Geysir Soon To Be Bought

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Geysir Soon To Be Bought

Geysir - Strokkur

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

In a few months, the entire Geysir area will soon be acquired by the Icelandic state. Fréttablaðið reports.

Located in southwestern Iceland, Geysir is the first geyser known to Europeans, being among Iceland's main tourist attractions. In fact, the word 'geyser' is based on Geysir. Ownership of the area, however, has been in murky waters for the past decades.

Originally owned by a farmer, it was sold to James Craig, a whiskey distiller and future Prime Minister of Ireland in the 1890's. Craig charged visitors an entrance fee, until relinquishing ownership to a friend who dropped the fees. His nephew later inherited the site and sold it to film director Sigurður Jónasson in 1935. Sigurður finally gave the land to the Icelandic state, although the lands surrounding the actual geysers have belonged to private individuals.

A year ago, it was finally decided that the state would acquire the entire area after current land owners attempted in vain to set up an entrance fee for visitors once again. According to said owners, they were forced to sell the lands under threat of expropriation.

An assessment committee has been hard at work ever since, ready to present its results no later than October this year, according to its chairman.

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