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 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. All of Reykjavík, including the neighboring towns are today geothermally heated. 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.