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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Carry On Icelandic: Culture [selections] (2004)

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H÷fu­borgin ReykjavÝk - ReykjavÝk, the Capital

H÷fu­borgin ReykjavÝk

Su­vesturhorn ═slands er ■Úttbřlasti hluti ■ess og ■ar er h÷fu­borgin ReykjavÝk, nor­lŠgasta h÷fu­borg jar­ar. ReykjavÝk stendur vi­ su­austanver­an Faxaflˇa. Ve­urfar Ý ReykjavÝk er milt og ■ar er fremur lÝtill munur sumars og vetrar mi­a­ vi­ řmsa a­ra landshluta. Ůar er einnig fremur votvi­rasamt og rignir a­ me­altali 200 daga ß ßri.

Color photograph

Frß ┴rbŠjarlaug Ý ReykjavÝk. Sund er vinsŠl tˇmstundai­kun og ß gˇ­um sˇlard÷gum eru sundsta­ir yfirfullir (From ┴rbŠjarlaug in ReykjavÝk. Swimming is a popular past-time activity, on sunny days the swimming pools soon become overcrowded).

Upphaf bygg­ar Ý ReykjavÝk er raki­ til ■ess er fyrsti landnßmsma­urinn, Ingˇlfur Arnarson, settist ■ar a­. Um ■a­ segir svo Ý Landnßmabˇk sem er talin frß fyrri hluta 12. aldar og elsta heimild um landnßm ═slands:

Ůß er Ingˇlfur sß ═sland, skaut hann fyrir bor­ ÷ndvegiss˙lum sÝnum til heilla; hann mŠlti svo fyrir, a­ hann skyldi ■ar byggja, er s˙lurnar kŠmu ß land. (═slendingabˇk og Landnßma. Rvk. 1986, bls. 42)

Hann sendi ■rŠla sÝna a­ leita s˙lnanna, tˇk sÚr b˙setu ■ar sem ■Šr fundust og nefndi sta­inn ReykjavÝk. Fornleifarannsˇknir ß ■eim sta­ sem hann er sag­ur hafa reist bŠ sinn sty­ja ■ß hef­bundnu sko­un a­ ■ar hafi b˙i­ fyrstu Ýb˙ar ReykjavÝkur.

Um mi­ja 18. ÷ld hˇfst skipuleg uppbygging ■Úttbřlis Ý ReykjavÝk. BŠrinn ÷­la­ist kaupsta­arrÚttindi 1786, ■ß voru Ýb˙ar hans 167. ═ upphafi 20. aldar voru ■eir 5000 en n˙ er ReykjavÝk langstŠrsti ■Úttbřlissta­ur landsins me­ yfir 100.000 Ýb˙a og yfir 60% ■jˇ­arinnar břr ß h÷fu­borgarsvŠ­inu ÷llu.

Kˇpavogur, sem bygg­ist eftir seinna strÝ­, er nßnast samvaxinn ReykjavÝk og samfelld bygg­ er yfir Ý Hafnarfj÷r­, gamlan ˙tger­ar- og verslunarbŠ, sem er nokkrum kÝlˇmetrum sunnar.

═ um 50 km fjarlŠg­ su­ur af ReykjavÝk er kaupsta­urinn KeflavÝk. Skammt su­ur af KeflavÝk er KeflavÝkurflugv÷llur. Hann er stŠrsti flugv÷llur ß ═slandi, bygg­ur af herli­i BandarÝkjamanna Ý seinni heimsstyrj÷ldinni og tekinn Ý notkun 1943. Vi­ KeflavÝkurflugv÷ll er bandarÝsk herst÷­.

Utan ReykjavÝkur er bygg­in dreif­ um lßglendi­ me­fram str÷ndinni og borgin heldur ßfram a­ stŠkka ß kostna­ landsbygg­arinnar. Miklir fˇlksflutningar utan af landi til borgarinnar hafa ßtt sÚr sta­ ß undanf÷rnum ßrum og vir­ist ekkert lßt ■ar ß. Ůykir m÷rgum sem stefni Ý a­ tala­ ver­i um borgrÝki­ ReykjavÝk fremur en ■jˇ­rÝki­ ═sland.

ReykjavÝk, the Capital

The southwest corner of Iceland is the most densely populated region and the location of the capital ReykjavÝk, the northernmost capital in the world. ReykjavÝk is situated on the southeast coastline of Faxaflˇi. The city's climate is mild and, compared with some other parts of the country, there is rather little difference between summer and winter. It is also rather rainy, with an average of 200 precipitous days per year.

The source of the settlement in ReykjavÝk can be traced back to when Ingˇlfur Arnarson, the first Norse settler in Iceland, established himself in the area. His story is related in Landnßmabˇk (The Book of Settlements), estimated to be from the early part of the twelfth-century and the oldest source of information about the settlement of Iceland:

When Ingˇlfur saw Iceland, he threw his high-seat posts overboard for good luck. He declared that he would establish himself at the place where the beam came to land. (═slendingabˇk og Landnßma. Rvk. 1986, bls. 42)

He sent his slaves to find the posts, set up his farm where they were found, and named the place ReykjavÝk. Archaeological excavations of the place he is said to have established his farm do lend support to the traditional view that it is the location of ReykjavÝk's first residents.

Black and white photograph

┴­ur fyrr voru ■vottar ■vegnir utandyra Ý heitum laugum Ý ReykjavÝk (In the past washing in ReykjavÝk was done by using hot water from natural springs).

The organized building of an urban area in ReykjavÝk began in the mid eighteenth-century. The town was granted a trading licence in 1786, at which time the number of residents was 167. At the beginning of the twentieth-century, their number was 5,000. Today, ReykjavÝk is by far the largest urban area in the country, with over 100,000 inhabitants and 60% or more of the nation living in the ReykjavÝk and its surrounds.

Kˇpavogur, which was established after World War II, is practically growing alongside ReykjavÝk, and the general urban area extends to Hafnarfj÷r­ur, an old fishing and trading town that lies a few kilometres to the south.

About 50 kilometres south of ReykjavÝk is KeflavÝk, just south of which is KeflavÝk Airport. It is the largest airport in Iceland, and was built by American troops during World War II and began operating in 1943. Situated alongside KeflavÝk Airport is the American military base.

Development around ReykjavÝk is spread over lowlands on the beach, and the town continues to get larger at the expense of the countryside. Many people have moved from the country to the city in past years and there appears to be no break in the level of new development. To many, this trend leads one to speak of the "city state" of ReykjavÝk rather than a nation state of Iceland.

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