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Why You Should Visit Iceland's Imagine Peace Tower, Yoko Ono's Memorial to John Lennon

Peace Tower Lights Up
Peace Tower Lights Up | © Helga Halldorsson / Flickr
In the night sky of Reykjavik, you can see a bright light that appears to be a search light. However, it remains still and pointed towards the sky. The Imagine Peace Tower is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The tower is located on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay close to Reykjavík, Iceland. The tower of light is projected from a white stone monument with the words “Imagine Peace” carved into it in 24 languages. The words, along with the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon’s efforts for world peace through his music and social stance. The name of the tower especially alludes to his popular song “Imagine”.

The Tower is composed of 15 searchlights, each with prisms that reflect the column of light vertically into the sky from a 10-metre wide base that is constructed as a wishing well. The powerful, singular light beam often reaches to the clouds and can be seen penetrating through the cloud cover. When the skies are clear, the light beam appears to reach around 4,000 metres. The power for the light beam is of course fuelled by geothermal energy, it being in Iceland. Underneath the light beam and its base construction are over one million wishes that Yoko Ono gathered through another project called Wish Trees.

Imagine Peace Tower © McKay Savage/Flickr

Yoko Ono has the light beam on every year from the day of John Lennon’s birth, October 9th, to the day he was shot, December 8th. Ono chose the site of Iceland because of its peaceful history, beautiful landscape, and sustainable geothermal energy to fuel the tower. The construction of the tower began on October 9th, 2006, at a ceremony during which Ono dedicated the site to the project. It was officially revealed to the public a year later. The opening ceremony was of great fanfare and was broadcast by many media networks and was attended by Ono, her son with John Lennon, Sean Lennon, and his bandmate in The Beatles, Ringo Starr, as well as the widow of former bandmate, George Harrison, Olivia Harrison and her son, Dhani.

The following translations of the phrase ‘Imagine Peace’ are written on the tower’s base:

English: IMAGINE PEACE

Swahili: TUFIKIRIENI AMANI
Japanese: 平和な世界を想像してごらん

Icelandic: HUGSA SÉR FRIÐ
Korean: 평화를 꿈꾸자

Turkish: BARIŞI DÜŞLE
Chinese: 想像世界有了和平

Persian: به صلح بیندیش‎
Arabic: احلم سلام‎

Filipino: ILARAWAN ANG MUNDONG MAPAYAPA
Portuguese: IMAGINE A PAZ

Tamil: சமாதானத்தை நினையுங்கள்
Russian: ПРЕДСТАВЬТЕ СЕБЕ МИР

Hungarian: KÉPZELD EL A BÉKÉT
Hindi: शान्ति की कल्पना करें

Finnish: KUVITTELE RAUHA
German: STELL DIR VOR ES IST FRIEDEN

Georgian: წარმოიდგინეთ მშვიდობა
Italian: IMMAGINA LA PACE

Standard Tibetan: ཞི་བ་སྒོམས་
French: IMAGINEZ LA PAIX

Hebrew: חלום שלום‎
Spanish: IMAGINA LA PAZ

Inuktitut: ᓴᐃᒪᖃᑎᒌᑦᑕ