A once-pristine European canyon that is millions of years old and has waterfalls and picturesque walking routes has been left severely damaged by hordes of tourists.
The Fjadrargljufur canyon, located near the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur in south-eastern Iceland, has been closed after the Nordic country’s Environment Agency decided to protect the area.
The lush canyon is 100 metres (330 feet) deep and two kilometres (1.2 miles) long, and the majestic River Fjaora flows through it.
Its origins date back to the Ice Age about two million years ago.
Reports said that the tourist attraction will be closed for at least two weeks to repair areas damaged by a large number of visitors.
Increased foot traffic has reportedly led to the erosion of natural vegetation and pathways.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency of Iceland said: “Due to thawing conditions, the area has been damaged greatly by (foot) traffic and is prone to further damage. The area of the canyon is now closed and there will be a re-evaluation of the situation within two weeks.”
According to reports, it is not the first time that the protected area has been closed. The Environment Agency also shut down operations in March 2018 and January this year for the same reasons.