American soldiers first came to Iceland in 1941, before the United States declared war on Germany and Japan, and constructed the headquarters for their military activity at a barren and desolate location in the southwest corner of the country. The base was one of hundreds of such bases that the Americans established all over the world during the Cold War. For 55 years, from 1951 until 2006, the base at Keflavik was one of the American armyâs most important North Atlantic bases. However, following the end of the Cold War, the United Statesâ new foreign affairs policies made the base unnecessary and the base was abandoned. The photographer Bragi ÃÃ³r JÃ³sefsson visited the deserted town shortly after the Americans left and just before Icelanders started to renovate it for their own needs. The buildings had fulfilled their original purposes, but it was as if they were still waiting for their former owners to return. Traces of these inhabitants had all but disappeared, and the future of the town was still undecided. It was a strange sight; An American town, complete with supermarkets, a hospital, football field and a cinema, standing and awaiting its destiny on a desolutre Icelandic moor.
Myndirnar tÃ³k Bragi ÃÃ³r JÃ³sefsson Ã¡ svÃ¦Ã°i varnarliÃ°sins Ã KeflavÃk eftir aÃ° herinn hafÃ°i yfirgefiÃ° stÃ¶Ã°ina Ã¡riÃ° 2006. HerstÃ¶Ã°in var reist af BandarÃkjaher Ã¡riÃ° 1951 Ã kjÃ¶lfar Ã¾ess aÃ° BandarÃkjamenn og Ãslendingar gerÃ°u meÃ° sÃ©r varnarsamkomulag. Ãegar mest var tÃ¶ldust hermenn, starfsliÃ° hersins og Ã½missa stofnanan Ã¡ stÃ¶Ã°inni og fjÃ¶lskyldur Ã¾eirra um 5700 manns. Ã varnarliÃ°ssvÃ¦Ã°inu voru verslanir, skÃ³lar, sjÃºkrahÃºs, kvikmyndahÃºs, ÃÃ¾rÃ³ttahÃºs og skemmtistaÃ°ir auk ÃbÃºÃ°arhÃºsa og hernaÃ°armannvirkja. SvÃ¦Ã°iÃ° var girt af og lokaÃ° og Ã¾ar var allt meÃ° Ã¶Ã°ru sniÃ°i en Ãslendingar Ã¡ttu aÃ° venjast. Eftir lok kalda strÃÃ°sins var ljÃ³st aÃ° hernaÃ°arlegt mikilvÃ¦gi stÃ¶Ã°varinnar hafÃ°i minnkaÃ° verulega og var henni endanlega lokaÃ° Ã¡riÃ° 2006. ÃÃ¡ yfirgÃ¡fu BandarÃkjamenn landiÃ° eftir 55 Ã¡ra hersetu. Ã Ã¾essum tÃmapunkti myndar Bragi ÃÃ³r myndarÃ¶Ã°ina Iceland Defense Force. Myndirnar sÃ½na yfirgefna amerÃska herstÃ¶Ã° Ã Ãslensku hrauni. StaÃ°ur Ã¾ar sem rafmagniÃ° var 110 volt, vatniÃ° var hreinsaÃ° meÃ° klÃ³r, yfirgefiÃ° amerÃskt Ã¾orp - staÃ°ur sem fÃ¡ir Ãslendingar Ã¾ekktu Ã raun en birtist hÃ©r mannlaus og framandi.