. Reykjavik (Icelandic pronunciation is the capital and largest city of Iceland. Its latitude, at 64 degree N, makes it the world northernmost capital of a sovereign state and a popular tourist destination. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of the Faxafloi Bay. With a population of around 120,000 (and over 200,000 in the Capital Region), it is the heart of Iceland cultural, economic and governmental activity.Reykjavik is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which Ingolfur Arnarson is said to have established around AD 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 center of commerce, population, and governmental activities. It is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world.
. Perlan (English The Pearl) is a landmark building in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It is 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high. It was originally designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson. Perlan is situated on the hill oskjuhlio where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. In 1991 the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. This project was largely done at the behest of Davio Oddsson, during his time as mayor of Reykjavik.Perlan has 10,000 cubic meters of exhibition space on the ground floor, known as the Winter Garden. It has hosted concerts by Icelandic artists such as GusGus and Emiliana Torrini as well as various expos and markets.There is a viewing deck on the fourth floor. It contains panoramic telescopes at each six corners of the deck with recorded descriptions in five different languages.
The Sun Voyager
. Sun Voyager (Icelandic Solfar) is sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason (1931 1989). Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. The sculpture is located by Saebraut, by the sea in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland.In an interview published in the newspaper p jooviljinn on June 11, 1987, Jon Gunnar describes the genesis of the work as being part of the Scandinavian art project, Experimental Environment, which conducted various artistic experiments in Iceland, Denmark and other places in the eighties.In May 1985, a group of artists, members of the Scandinavian art project, Experimental Environment, gathered to take part in the SaariVala Environmental Art Action in Bockholm, Finland. There I experienced a sense of the history of the origins of Icelanders, something which is also related in the present exhibition at the Nordic House in Reykjavik.
. Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavik, Iceland. The opening concert was held on May 4, 2011.Harpa was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in cooperation with DanishIcelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours. The building was originally part of a redevelopment of the Austurhofn area dubbed World Trade Center Reykjavik, which was partially abandoned when the financial crisis took hold. The development was intended to include a 400room hotel, luxury apartments, retail units, restaurants, a car park and the new headquarters of Icelandic bank Landsbanki.The completion of the structure was uncertain until the government decided in 2008 to fully fund the rest of the construction costs for the halfbuilt concert hall. The building was given its name on the Day of Icelandic Music on 11 December 2009, prior to which it was called The Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre (Icelandic Tonlistar og rAostefnuhusio i Reykjavik). The building is the first purposebuilt concert hall in Reykjavik. It houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the offices of The Icelandic Opera.
National Museum of Iceland
. The National Museum of Iceland (p joominjasafn islands) was established on 24 February 1863, with Jon Arnason the first curator of the Icelandic collection, previously kept in Danish museums. The second curator, Sigurour Guomundsson, advocated the creation of an antiquarian collection, and the museum was called the Antiquarian Collection until 1911.Before settling at its present location, at Suourgata 41, 101 Reykjavik, in 1950, it was housed in various Reykjavik attics, finally for forty years in the attic of the National Library building on Hverfisgata (Safnahusio, now the Culture House, p joomenningarhusio).A key object in the permanent exhibition is the Valp jofsstaour door, a celebrated carving depicting a version of the LionKnight legend where a knight slays a dragon, thus freeing a lion that becomes his companion.
. Hallgrimskirkja (Icelandic pronunciation is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavik, Iceland. At 73 metres (244 ft), it is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland after Longwave radio mast Hellissandur, the radio masts of the US Navy at Grindavik, Eioar longwave transmitter and SmAratorg tower. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrimur Petursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.State Architect Guojon Samuelsson design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland landscape. It took 38 years to build the church. Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986, the landmark tower being completed long before the church actual completion. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings were completed in 1974, and the nave was consecrated in 1986. Situated in the centre of Reykjavik, it is one of the city bestknown landmarks and is visible throughout the city. It is similar in style to the expressionist architecture of Grundtvig Church of Copenhagen, Denmark, completed in 1940.
. Reykjavik 871
. Arbaejarsafn is the historical museum of the city of Reykjavik as well as an open air museum and a regional museum. Its purpose is to give the public an insight into the living conditions, work and recreational activities of the people of Reykjavik in earlier times.Around the middle of the 20th century, there was growing concern that old Reykjavik was disappearing forever. The first efforts to found a museum came in 1942, when the city council was presented with a petition to that effect. The request was wellreceived, and forwarded for comment to the Reykjavik Society, a group concerning itself with local history. The systematic collection of documents on the town history began about that time, laying the foundations for the city archives.In 1954, the Reykjavik Archives and Historical Collection were officially founded and LArus Sigurbjornsson was hired as director, and he set about collecting artefacts of many kinds.
Icelandic Phallological Museum
. The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Icelandic Hio islenzka Reoasafn), located in Reykjavik, Iceland, houses the world largest display of penises and penile parts. The collection of 280 specimens from 93 species of animals includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, allegedly including Huldufolk (Icelandic elves) and trolls. In July 2011, the museum obtained its first human penis, one of four promised by wouldbe donors. Its detachment from the donor body did not go according to plan and it was reduced to a greyishbrown shrivelled mass pickled in a jar of formalin. The museum continues to search for a younger and a bigger and better one.Founded in 1997 by retired teacher Sigurour Hjartarson and now run by his son Hjortur Gisli Sigurosson, the museum grew out of an interest in penises that began during Sigurour childhood when he was given a cattle whip made from a bull penis. He obtained the organs of Icelandic animals from sources around the country,
. The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in South Iceland, covering about 300 km looping from Reykjavik into central Iceland and back.The three primary stops on the route are the national park p ingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss (meaning golden falls ), and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Though Geysir has been inactive for a long time, Strokkur, on the other hand, continues to erupt at every 510 minutes interval.Other stops include Kerio volcano crater, Hverageroi greenhouse village, SkAlholt church, and the Nesjavellir or Hellisheidarvirkjun geothermal power plant.
. Vioey (Icelandic pronunciation sometimes anglicised as Videy) is the largest island of the Kollafjorour Bay in Iceland, near the capital of Reykjavik.It is the location of the Imagine Peace Tower, which is a Tower of Light envisioned and built by Yoko Ono, widow of Beatle John Lennon. According to the Associated Press The tower is a beam of light, radiating from a wishing well bearing the words imagine peace in 24 languages. The plan is for it to be lit each year between his birthday, October 9, and his death December 8.
. The house was built in 1945 by Halldor and his wife Auour Sveinsdottir. The architect was Agust PAlsson and the interior designer was Birta Frooadottir. Gljufrasteinn is built on the banks of the river Kaldakvisl and is situated close to Laxness childhood home, Laxnes.Halldor Laxness was a prominent figure in Icelandic society and his status only increased after he won the Nobel Prize in 1955. Laxness home became a cultural hub in Iceland where important foreign guests were brought for official as well as unofficial visits. International musicians would frequently give concerts in his living room.Paintings by some of the most celebrated 20th century Icelandic artists adorn the walls of Gljufrasteinn. Visitors can view works by artists such as Svavar Guonason, Nina Tryggvadottir, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Johannes Kjarval, Karl Kvaran, Asmundur Sveinsson, as well as works by the Danish painter Asger Jorn and the Norwegian painter Jakob Weidemann.
. Tjornin (Icelandic pronunciation, The Pond) is a prominent small lake in central Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Most visitors to the city pass along its shore, as it is situated in the city centre next to the City Hall and several museums. Tjornin means the lake or the pond . Tarn, meaning mountain lake , is a northern English dialect word derived from the Norse word tjorn and its genitiveor plural tjarnar. Bird feeding on the lake shore, a popular pastime, has led to the lake being called the biggest bread soup in the world (staersta brauosupa i heimi). Tjornin was the setting for scenes in the 2010 Icelandic movie Gauragangur.
. Austurvollur is a public square in Reykjavik, Iceland. The square is a popular gathering place for the citizens of Reykjavik, and especially so during good weather due to the prevalence of cafes on Vallarstraeti and Posthusstraeti. It has also been a focal point of protests due to the close location to the Parliament of Iceland.The square contains a large statue of Jon Sigurosson, a leader of Iceland independence movement.Austurvollur is surrounded by Vallarstraeti, Posthusstraeti, Kirkjustraeti and Thorvaldsensstraeti. The latter of which is named after Bertel Thorvaldsen, a statue of whom was, for a long period of time, present in the centre of Austurvollur, now occupied by a statue of Jon Sigurosson. Located around the perimeter of the square are the Alp ingishusio (Parliament House), the Domkirkjan (the city oldest church), the Hotel Borg, as well as numerous cafes, restaurants and bars.In the early 18th century, Austurvollur was much larger and stretched from Aoalstraeti in the west towards the creek in the east, and Aoalstraeti in the north towards Tjorn in the south.
National Gallery of Iceland
. The National Gallery of Iceland is located in Reykjavik, and contains a collection of Icelandic art. The gallery features artwork of famous Icelandic artists and artwork that helps explain the traditional Icelandic culture.The Museum remained an independent institution from its inception in 1884 until 1916 when Alp ingi the Icelandic Parliament decided to make it a department in the National Heritage Museum (p joominjasafn islands). In 1928 a law was passed in Alp ingi on the Council of Culture and under that law the National Gallery came under the supervision of said council.The collection was on show at the Alp ingishus the House of Parliament, i.e. in the building itself from 1885 until the year 1950 when it was transferred to the building of the National Museum of Iceland at Suourgata. There the collection was formally opened to the public in 1951 and in 1961 a law was passed making the Museum fully independent.
. Landakotskirkja ( Landakot Church ), formally named Basilika Krists konungs ( The Basilica of Christ the King ), is the cathedral of the Catholic Church in Iceland. It is often referred to as Kristskirkja ( Christ Church ). Landakotskirkja is located in the western part of Reykjavik, on the Landakot property. It has a distinctively flat top, as opposed to the standard spire. Its architect is Guojon Samuelsson, who also built the famous Hallgrimskirkja and the Akureyrarkirkja in Akureyri.The first Catholic priests to arrive in Iceland after the Reformation were the Frenchmen Bernard Bernard and JeanBaptiste Baudoin. They bought the Landakot farmstead in Reykjavik and settled there in the early 19th century. They built a small chapel in 1864. A few years later, a small wooden church was erected by Tungata, close to Landakot. After the First World War, Icelandic Catholics saw the need to build a bigger church for the growing number of Catholics. They decided to build a NeoGothic church and entrusted the task to the architect Guojon Samuelsson. After years of construction, Landakotskirkja was finally sanctified on 23 July 1929. It was the largest church in Iceland at the time. Today, Landakotskirkja is a distinct landmark in western Reykjavik. The only Catholic school in Iceland is located nearby on the same land.
Frikirkjan i Reykjavik
. The Frikirkjan i Reykjavik (Icelandic The Free Church in ) congregation was established in Reykjavik in the autumn of 1899. It had an initial membership of 600 which soon rose. The foundation of the Free Church did not spring from any doctrinal dispute with the national Lutheran church, but arose from objections to certain aspects of the national church organisations. The Free church followed the example of churches in Norway and those of Icelandic immigrant communities in North America, in wishing to bring the church closer to the people. The rising population of Reykjavik and the concomitant social changes also contributed. Craftsmen and tradesman were growing classes in the town, and new districts were built, and yet Reykjavik Cathedral was still the only church. Shortly after the new congregation was founded, a suitable site for a new church was chosen at the east of the lake. The church was consecrated on 22 February 1903. Only two years later the church was lengthened, to a design by architect Rognvaldur olafsson. In 1924 the church was enlarged again. A chancel was built of concrete at the eastern end, and various alterations were built on either side of the forechurch, supervised by master builder Guomundur H. p orlAksson.
. The river EllioaAr is situated in the Reykjavik area in the southwest of Iceland. Two small rivers have their source in the volcanic mountain range of BlAfjoll and stream down to the lake Ellioavatn in the eastern suburban border of the city, its outlet forming the river. On their way, they pass through the nature reserve area of Heiomork.On its way to the sea, which is reached in the bay Ellioavogur in Reykjavik, not far from the openair folk museum of Arbaejarsafn in Arbaer, the river cascades over several small waterfalls within the boundary of the city.Salmon fishing in the river is excellent although very expensive.
. Ellioavatn is a lake in Iceland. It is situated in the area of Reykjavik.Not far from it, there is the well known natural park Heiomork with its hiking and biking trails, small forests and lava formations.The eastern shores of Ellioavatn are part of Heiomork nature reserve, protected by the state.Coming on the hringvegur (Route 1) over the Hellisheioi in the direction of the capital city, travelers pass by the lake.
. Laugardalsvollur is the national stadium of Iceland. It is located in Reykjavik, and seats 9,800.The first stand was constructed in 1958, the opposite stand in 1997 and the old stand was renovated and extended in 2006. Additional capacity can be added by bringing in two temporary stands seating 1,500 each. It is mainly used for football and it also has athletics facilities.The largest attendance ever seen by the Laugardalsvollur was 20,204 in 2004 for a friendly match between Iceland and Italy. Iceland surprised the world by winning the game 20.
. The peak of solar activity will be on next autumn, but there also time until April or so if you are up for a last minute trip. Otherwise, wait until September at least to go hunting them. The Northern Lights Season is roughly from September to April, even if Ive heard about beautiful displays in August too, but this is more like an exception.There are a couple of places in and around Reykjavik that will offer you amazing views of the Northern Lights so no excuse for the lazy bums. Go book your flight to Iceland. It that easy!
Join the Runtur
. Reykjavik on a weekend night is an altogether different animal. The residents join in what is known locally as the Runtur a bar crawl on and around Laugavegur. Beer was banned in Iceland until as recent as 1989, but boy do they make up for it on a Friday and Saturday night!The runtur does not get going until very late, (midnight), with the locals choosing to drink at home first. Then downtown Reykjavik gets overtaken with revellers going from one bar to another until around 5am when it time to spill into the takeaways instead.Raucous but always friendly the runtur can be whatever you make it of it but whether you just have an early(ish) drink or you last the distance, it guaranteed to be a whole lotta fun!
. Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world first parliament. But it not just of huge historical importance for Iceland, it also sits right on the MidAtlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates have drifted apart, telling a story of Iceland landscape too.Fissures and cracks snake across the land alongside the largest lake in Iceland, making for a dramatic and beautiful scene that sweeps before you.
. Geysir, the original geyser, after which all other geysers in the world were named, is found in this area of Iceland. But the daddy of spouting hot springs is not very active these days, so visitors wait every four minutesorso to watch the nearby Strokkur blow water a hundred feet into the air instead. Other hot springs and steamy pools are dotted around the area too.
. If you are recovering from last night runtur, or just exhausted after a full day sightseeing there no better way to soothe head or feet than with a trip to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland most famous (but far from only) geothermal spa.Around 40 minutes by car or bus from Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon is nestled amongst black lava formations in a landscape that feels quite like nowhere else on earth. Like the moon, in fact.