This beautiful row of houses

The row of houses that stands on the slope at Lækjargata, above Kvosin, is now called Bernhöftstorfa. The row of houses, from the Government Council, then the Bernhöftstorfan and then the building of Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, form the oldest complete row of houses in the capital. It was almost 70 years ago that the architect Helge Finsen pointed out that the slope contained almost the only intact street scene from the past, and was therefore well worth preserving, but some of the houses on the turf were not in good conditions at that time. In 1972, the Turf Association was founded to promote the preservation and restoration of the houses. An assessment of the condition of the buildings was made in 1977, that year there was, among other things, a fire on the turf. In 1979, the row of houses was then preserved and the Turf Association entered into a lease agreement with the Minister of Finance and Education regarding the association’s takeover of the turf in return for its restoration. That work was fully completed in 1989. The two oldest houses on Bernhöftstorfan are from 1832, followed by one from 1836. Two buildings in the row are younger, both built in 1905.


The name of Berhöftstorfan comes from a bakery named Berhöftsbakarí that was located at Bankastræti 2 for 97 years. Located now in the same house is the bakery/restaurant Bakabaka.

Looking from Berhöftstorfan, down Bankastræti and towards Lækjartorg.

On the other side of Bankastræti you can see the House of the government counsel, the office of our Prime Minister.

Landlæknishúsið, built in 1836 and a statue of Friðrik Friðriksson standing in front of Bernhöftstorfa.

In Gimli, at front of the photograph, are the offices for the Reykjavík Art Festival are located.

Reykjanes 15/11/2022 : A7C : FE 2.8/100mm GM, FE 2.5/40mm G

Photographs & text : Páll Stefánsson