Reykjavík

Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland. It is located in south west Iceland at a latitude of 64°08' N which makes it the northernmost capital in the world. It is by far the largest community in the country with a population close to 200,000, if one counts with the suburbs, - more than half of Icelands population. Reykjavík is a centre of administration, trade, education and culture.

The name - Reykjavík

The name, Reykjavík was given to the place by the first settler of Iceland that arrived here in the late 9th century. Reykjavík means a Smoky Bay, named after columns of steam rising from the hot springs that have now been harnessed for heating the city.

Geothermaally heated

All of Reykjavík, including the neighboring towns are today geothermally heated. The geothermal hot water is also used for bathing and there are numerous open air public swimming pools found in all parts of the city, where the hot water from the ground is used directly in the pools that are open all year round.

History

Reykjavík´s old town is a rather small area between the fishing harbour and a small lake, characterized by small colourful timber houses. For centuries, Reykjavik was only a small hamlet but it started to develop as a town in the 18th century. Reykjavík gained municipal rights in 1786 with a population of less than 200 people. Reykjavík is located on a peninsula and it started to grow around the harbor near the westernmost tip of the peninsula. Since the city sits on a peninsula, it can only grow in one direction, - to the east so the oldest part of the city is close to the tip. Reykjavík has an airport located close to the city center and scheduled domestic flights are available daily to towns in other parts of the country.

Culture

There are many art galleries and museums in the city and one of the newest additions to the cultural scene in Reykjavík is Harpa, a magnificent concert hall, situated by the harbor in the old city center.