Theme Week Iceland – Ísafjörður

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Fishery Museum © TommyBee

Fishery Museum © TommyBee

Ísafjörður (meaning ice fjord or fjord of ice) is a town in the northwest of Iceland. It is the seat of Ísafjarðarbær municipality. With a population of about 2,600, Ísafjörður is the largest town in the peninsula of Vestfirðir (Westfjords) and the seat of the Ísafjarðarbær municipality, which includes the nearby Hnífsdalur, Flateyri, Suðureyri, and Þingeyri. It is located on a spit of sand, or eyri, in Skutulsfjörður, a fjord which meets the waters of the larger Ísafjarðardjúp. According to the Landnámabók (the book of settlement), Skutulsfjördur was first settled by Helgi Magri Hrólfsson in the 9th century. In the 16th century, the town grew as it became a trading post for foreign merchants. Witch trials were common around the same time throughout the Westfjords, and many people were banished to the nearby peninsula of Hornstrandir, now a national nature reserve. The town of Ísafjörður was granted municipal status in 1786.

The local folk museum contains the oldest house in Iceland, built in 1734. The largest collection of old timber frame houses in Iceland is in this area. The houses were mostly constructed by foreign traders in the late 18th century. These include Tjöruhús (completed in 1742), Krambúð (1761), and Turnhús (1744), which now contains a maritime museum.

© Progresschrome/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Bjarki Sigursveinsson/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - Bjarki Sigursveinsson/cc-by-sa-2.0 Fishery Museum © TommyBee © Herbert Ortner/cc-by-2.5 © flickr.com - David Stanley/cc-by-2.0
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© flickr.com - Bjarki Sigursveinsson/cc-by-sa-2.0
The town is connected by road and a recent 5.4 kilometres (3.4 miles) road tunnel to Bolungarvík which lies 15 km (9 mi) to the northwest, and to the village of Súðavík to the east. The partly one-lane Vestfjarðagöng (Vestfirðir Tunnel), completed in 1996, leads to the towns of Flateyri and Suðureyri, and to the western parts of the Westfjords. Ísafjörður has an airport with regular flights to Reykjavík. Fishing has been the main industry in Ísafjörður, and the town has one of the largest fisheries in Iceland. A severe decline in the fishing industry for a variety of reasons, such as fishing restrictions in the early 1980s, and a decline in the fish population, has led the inhabitants to seek work elsewhere, leading to a decline in the town’s population. The harbor also serves ferries to nearby settlements as well as larger cruise ships for tourists visiting the area. The tourist industry is growing; it is a major access point to the nature reserve on the Hornstrandir Peninsula, an uninhabited wilderness area to which ferries run weekly during summer.

Despite its size, small population, and historical isolation from the rest of the country, the town has a relatively urban atmosphere. Ísafjörður has a school of music, as well as a hospital. The older former hospital building now accommodates a cultural center with a library and showrooms. Recently, the small town has become known in the country as a center for alternative music outside of Iceland. A yearly festival, Aldrei fór ég suður, provides a platform for local musicians and bands from around Iceland and even from overseas. A university center, Háskólasetur Vestfjarða, which acts as a distance learning center for the 7000 residents of the Westfjords, was established in March 2005. Ísafjörður is the home to the University Centre of the Westfjords. The University Centre offers two master’s degree programs. One in Coastal & Marine Management and the other in Marine Innovation. Students graduate from the University of Akureyri.

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Read more on Ísafjörður, Wikivoyage Ísafjörður and Wikipedia Ísafjörður. 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 organizations 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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