Imagine Peace Monument, Reykjavík
On a small island, Viðey, by Reykjavík stands a Peace tower in remembrance of John Lennon´s birthday. It was first lit in 2007 by Yoko Ono on John Lennon´s birthday on the 9th of October and is lit until the day he was killed on the 8th of December.
Yoko Ono got the idea of the Imagine Peace Tower in 1967 and when she met John Lennon he wanted to put up such a tower in their garden - but it ended up being lit here in Reykjavík :)
Yoko Ono comes to Iceland every year to light the tower, which emits a beautiful blue light far into the sky. Yoko has also paid for boat trips for the public to the island when she lights the tower.
In the year 2010 John Lennon would have turned 70 years old and Yoko Ono came here with her family and Ringo Starr and the widow of George Harrison. Yoko then held a concert in Reykjavík.
On the column is written in many languages IMAGINE PEACE.
In 2013 I went to attend the ceremony in Viðey. We took the boat at 18h and never had so many people attended, ca 1800 people were ferried over to the island on a boat with the capacity of 200 people. We were invited to an inside concert, which started at 19h at Viðeyjarnaust café close to the tower and then sat outside on the grass on a beautiful cold night and listened to Icelandic music and Yoko Ono´s speech. The ceremony started at 20h. It was magical when the tower was lit and the beautiful blue light was lit one by one while John Lennon´s "Imagine peace" was played. I have added a video of that moment on my Reykjavík page. Unfortunately I did not take into account that I had to turn my camera to be able to catch the blue light, so the video has to be watched with the computer on its side ;) Unless somebody can tell me how I can rotate the video?
There were so many people that we had to wait in line for an hour to get back. The first boat ride wast at 21h and only takes ca 7-10 minutes, so that was quick, but our toes froze while waiting in the line for an hour. People with children were allowed to board first, so they were picked out of the line.
Yoko Ono turned 80 in 2013 and on that occasion our Mayor, Jón Gnarr, awarded her with the title an Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík at Höfði house in Reykjavík. Our Mayor did so to thank Yoko for choosing Reykjavík for spreading peace around the world. Yoko Ono became the 5th person to be awarded this title.
The Imagine Peace Tower is also lit on other occasions, f.ex. on winter solstice, on New Year´s Eve, and for one week around summer solstice and upon agreement of Yoko Ono and the City of Reykjavík.
Highly recommended if visiting Reykjavík around the the 9th of October.
This tower of light was conceived by Yoko Ono as a beacon to world peace. Unlike her singing this is a pretty awesome experience. Multiple shafts of light emerge from a sort of well upon which the words ‘Imagine Peace’ are engraved in 24 languages. Wow and what a light it is! The tower is dedicated to John Lennon and is only turned on at certain times from the date of his birth (9 October) until 8th December (the date of his untimely demise). The installation is located on the island of Videy which has a pretty interesting history. Its also a good place for a brisk walk in the company of all things feathered.
I arrived in Reyjkavik on October 8th amidst what in my neck of the woods would be called a Nor'easter-gale force winds and torential downpours. Horrific landing and trip to the city from Keflavik. The thoughts racing through my head were "Please don't let me throw up" and "What have I gotten us into?"
But come October 9th the sun was out. I learned that the Lennon Imagine Peace Tower was to be lit that night by Yoko and Sean. Child of the 60's that I am, I had to be there.
We hopped in a cab and followed the light to its source along a narrow causeway. When we arrived, there was the tower in all its glory against a backdrop of the Northern Lights. It blew me away. It evoked reverence and awe as I have never experienced..
If you find yourself in Iceland between Oct 9th and Dec 8th, you have to see this.
If you are in Reykjavík during the darker months, you may witness the Yoko Ono art installation The Imagine Peace Tower. The light is on Viðey island, but is visible from Reykjavík. The tower is lit • 9th October – 8th December • 21st – 31st December • 18th February • 20th – 27 March one hour after sunset and staying lit until midnight.