(Full name: Reykjavíkurhöfn -- smoky bay)

Reykjavík is the capital (from 1918(*)) of Iceland, being home to over half of the island's quarter-of-a-million population. It is the world's most northerly capital city, and one of the smallest. In architectural and historical terms the city itself is rather dull, however, it dominates Iceland in all ways (e.g. politically, socially, culturally, economically, and above all, psychologically). Everything that "is happening" in Iceland happens here.

The city was the first place in Iceland to be intentionally settled. The first settler, Ingólfur Arnarson threw some pagan paraphenalia(**) overboard in 874, and built his farm where they washed ashore. It was sited where modern day Áalstræti crosses Suurgata, between the Tjörnin(***) and the sea. He went on to claim the whole of the south-west of Iceland and set about planting his hayfields at Austurvöllur, the town square.

The city itself is situated on a peninsula (roughly), is served by an excellent public transport system, and is named (surpisingly enough!) after nearby geothermal features. The approximate population in 1988 was 93,000, but this has risen in recent years to over 150,000.

(*) Between 1801 and 1918 it was seat of the Danish administration of Iceland.
(**) High-Seat Pillars, if you must know.
(***) The pond (see the song Börnin vi Tjörnina)

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