This vast highland plateau lies 500-600 m above sea level and it is
about 60 km long. The landscape is rather flat, alternating
barren gravel hills, lakes, and vegetated marshlands.
Around the middle of the 19th century poor people, who wanted to lead
independent lives inhabited the plateau. Properties in the
lowlands were too expensive. The ash from the 1875 eruption of the
central volcano Askja and the difficult living conditions forced most
of the families to abandon their livelihood. There was no
employment to be had elsewhere in the country and most of the people
had to emigrate to North America. Three of the most prominent
authors of the country, Halldor Laxness, Jon Trausti and Gunnar
Gunnarsson, based some of their works on the experiences of those
people. The last farm was abandoned just before the middle of
the 20th century and one of them has been rebuilt as a museum.
East Iceland saga Trail