Reykjavík, capital of Iceland

Friday, 4 November 2011 - 02:53 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: European Union, General, European Capital of Culture

Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Jóhann Heiðar Árnason

Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Jóhann Heiðar Árnason

Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. Its latitude at 64°08′ N makes it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay. With a population of around 120,000 (and over 200,000 in the Greater Reykjavík Area) it is the heart of Iceland’s economic, cultural and governmental activities.

Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have established around 870. Until the 18th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the next decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, population and governmental activities.

In the post-war years, the growth of Reykjavík accelerated. A mass exodus from the rural countryside began, largely due to improved technology in agriculture that reduced the need for manpower, and because of the population boom resulting from better living conditions in the country. A once primitive village was rapidly transformed into a modern city. Private cars became common and modern apartment complexes rose in the expanding suburbs. Much of Reykjavík lost its village feel. In 1972, Reykjavík hosted the world chess championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

Reykjavík colorful rooftops © flickr.com - Bjørn Giesenbauer Reykjavík from Perlan © flickr.com - Jennifer Boyer Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Andreas Tille Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Jóhann Heiðar Árnason Tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Reykjavík © Christian Bickel Tall ship Kruzenshtern in Reykjavík © Christian Bickel Lækjartorg Square © Reykholt © Hedwig Storch Hallgrímskirkja and Leif Eriksson monument © Andreas Tille Dillon Pub © Hansueli Krapf Reykjavík Panorama from Örfirisey © Ogkelt Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Jóhann Heiðar Árnason
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Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja (church) © Jóhann Heiðar Árnason
Reykjavík has in the last two decades become a significant player in the global community. The 1986 Reykjavík Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev underlined Reykjavík’s new-found international status. Deregulation in the financial sector and the computer revolution of the 1990s have transformed Reykjavík yet again. The financial sector and information technology are now significant employers in the city. The city has fostered some world famous talents in recent years, such as Björk and bands Múm and Sigur Rós.

Borgartún is the financial centre of Reykjavík, hosting a large number of companies and three investment banks. Reykjavík has been at the centre of Iceland’s economic growth and subsequent economic contraction over the last decade, a period referred to as the “Nordic Tiger Years” or “Iceland’s Boom Years”. The economic boom led to a sharp increase in construction, with large redevelopment projects such as Harpa concert hall and conference centre, Smáratorg and others.

Volcanic activity in Iceland provides Reykjavík with geothermal heating systems for both residential and industrial districts. In 2008, natural hot water was used to heat roughly 90% of all buildings in Iceland. With total use of geothermal energy being at 39 PJ, space heating accounted for 48%.

Read more on City of Reykjavík, VisitReykjavik.is and Wikipedia Reykjavík. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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