The Ellidaar-valley is one of the most interesting
recreational areas of the capital. It was proclaimed a municipal
conservation area because of its natural beauty and recreational
possibilities. It contains many notable historic spots and inviolate
relics. The valley is about 3,5 miles long and 0,5 - 1 mile wide. The
townspeople used to picnic there in the 19th century, but they sought more
distant destinations after the automotive age started. Nowadays people
have started noticing the valley again and enjoying its surroundings more
than ever before.
The geology of the valley can be studied in
Haubakkar down by the cove and estuaries of the Ellida river and explanations can be read from the
sign situated there. The average flow of the Ellida river is 5,5 m³/sec.
Waterworks exploits a part of its discharge area and probably reduces its flow by 0,6
m³/sec. Lake Ellidavatn is categorized with lakes Thingvallavatn and Myvatn. These
lakes are all situated in lava areas containing voluminous cold springs and their
discharges are much greater than their visible feeders. Their bottoms are covered with
thick deposits of diatomites and they are all reservoirs for hydro electric power
Lake Ellidavatn was enlarged
considerably by the construction of the dam in 1924 - 1925. The valley is
well vegetated in many places, both naturally and planted, and offers at
least 160 species of flowers. The forestation started after 1920 by the
planting of Rowan trees. Gardening began when people started building
dwellings and holiday houses in the valley.
The Energy Authorities started the forestation of the island between the
river branches after 1950. Ruins of a fullery and a tannery dating back to
the late 18th century are still visible on the island. To mention a few of
the breeding bird species in the valley, the most common ones are: The
whooper swan, the tufted duck, the gadwall, the snipe, the redwing, the
starling, the common redpoll, the wheat-ear, the wagtail, the raven and
the great northern diver.
Altogether 59 bird
species have been spotted there and at least 31 of them are confirmed
breeding in the valley. The Ellida river
has been among the best salmon
rivers of the country for a long time. It also offers brown trout, river
char and eel. The hydro electric power station was inaugurated in 1921.
The Energy Authority started collecting
artefacts connected with its operation in 1971.
Registration started in 1988, which marked the organized collection. The Electric Energy
Museum, situated in the Ellidaar valley, was officially established in 1990.
Geothermal Energy Authority exploits 8 boreholes in the valley. During the second world
war there were four allied camps in the valley. Three areas of the valley are occupied by
horse stables. The Open Air Museum Arbaer, which was opened in 1957, is one of the
interesting faces of this recreational area. On the landfill, down by the estuaries of the
river, dog owners are permitted to release their dogs to let them run around freely.
The valley paths are popular among walkers and runners.