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Reykjavik

Iceland

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    Reykjavik is by far the largest municipality in Iceland and as well the capital city of the country. The capital area has about a total of 60% of Iceland’s population, which is about 320.000 people. Ingolfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland according to Landnama, the Book of Settlement, built his farm on the peninsula where the city stands today. Arnarson is said to have decided the location of his settlement using a traditional Norse method. He cast his high seat pillars into the ocean when he saw the coastline, then settled where the pillars came to shore, though not many scholars would argue that this romantic story is fully credible. The town got its name “Smoky Bay” or Reykjavík, after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made such a deep impression on the first settlers. Thanks to Royal Treasurer Skuli Magnusson, known as the Father of Reykjavik, established wool workshops as part of his effort to modernize the Icelandic economy. This led to the beginning of urban development at Reykjavik. The town received its town charter in 1786 and has grown steadily ever since. Reykjavik is by far the largest community in Iceland today and located in southwestern Iceland. The capital area, which counts five different municipalities, has about 60% of Iceland’s total population. The other municipalities are Kópavogur, Gardabaer, Mosfellsbaer, and Hafnarfjordur. The city area coastline is characterized by peninsulas, coves, straits, and many small islands, e.g. Videy Island. It offers a good natural harbor and therefor fishing has always been a huge part of the city. Across the bay, Mount Esja (914 m) rises, the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik.

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