All posts filed under: Urban Studies

Reykjavik: The Coocoo’s Nest

By closing the door behind me I’m entering another world. A world wrapped in Warpaint music. I’ve never heard a Warpaint song in a café before. The slightly melancholic tones suit my inner conception of Iceland, correspond to its winter-melancholy, to the Northern Lights and to the vast of its ice landscape. But right now it’s summer and the street in front of the Coocoo’s Nest is full of people eating ice cream. There is an ice cream shop next doors where you have to draw a number to get your desired scoops of ice cream. Icelanders are addicted to ice cream! Even in cold winter days. At least this is what Ragi, a 59-years old Icelander told me.

The Venetian Ghetto

Did you know that the word “Ghetto” arise from Venice? It comes from the old Venetian dialect word “geto” which means “foundry”. In the 16th century Jewish people were forced to live in an isolated area within the Venetian district Cannaregio – an abandoned site of a former foundry that produced canons. The Jewish life was full of restrictions at that time: They were not allowed to leave their area at night-time and all access points were controlled by guards. When they wanted to leave the Ghetto at daytime they had to wear distinguishing clothes. Moreover they were only allowed to work in certain fields such as bankers, money-lender, tailor or tinker and had to pay extraordinary high taxes.