Akureyri is the capital of northern Iceland and the third largest town in Iceland, with about 15,000 residents. Akureyri lies on the west side of the head of the fjord Eyjafjöršur. At the innermost section of the fjord, the "Akureyri Puddle" or "The Puddle" is, by nature, one of the best harbours in the country. Certainly, above all else Akureyri owes its thanks to the good harbour for its existence.
Akureyri is an important centre of the fishing industry, and about 10% of the town's residents take their livelihoods from deep-sea fishing and fish processing.
It is uncertain when settlement and commerce began in Akureyri, but the main trading centre of the north, which was at Gįsar 14 km north of the town, has existed since at least 1400. The settlement has, little by little, moved farther up to the head of fjord. One cannot speak of a permanent settlement before the middle of the eighteenth-century. Initially, it was established as a trading centre: there is still a lot of trading done there as it is close to a large country population.
Akureyri is now the largest industrial trading town in the country, but there is also a great interest in gardening there. Gardens decorate the town and, alongside tall trees (by Icelandic standards), they give a beautiful appearance to the town in summer.
Akureyri is sometimes called "the school town", and educational and cultural life has long been strong there. It has two secondary schools, a college of art, a school of music, and a university, and there is also a study centre for women. There is an active theatre, various choral groups and a symphony orchestra. It is safe to say that the cultural and artistic life of the town is in bloom.
Sporting life is varied: two football clubs are run in the town, as well as swimming, ice-skating, and golf clubs to name but a few. Furthermore, Akureyri is the best skiing centre in the country.
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