Welcome to

Reykjavik Iceland


Signing the places

Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland, but its history began with the settlement of Iceland when Ingólfur Arnarson came from Norway around 874. Reykjavík was granted municipality right in 1786. In 1904, Iceland got home-rule and gained full independence in 1944. Reykjavik has many museums, including the National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands) and Árbæjar Museum, which is part of the Reykjavik City History Museum.

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Iceland’s parliament, Alþingi is the oldest legislative assembly in the world and was founded in 930 at Þingvellir where members met annually until 1799. Alþingi was rebuilt in a different form in Reykjavik in 1844.

The coastline of Reykjavik is characterized by peninsulas, fjords and islands. The Gulf Stream affects the climate in Reykjavik and makes it much warmer than the city's location indicates.

Arfleifð - national heritage

Stytta - statue

Safn - museum

Menning - culture

Garður - park

Fjöldskyldu og húsdýragarður Reykjavíkur - Zoo and family park Reykjavík

Þjóðgarður - national park

Eyja - island

Strandlína - shoreline

Strönd - beach

Nauthólsvík - Nautholsvik geothermal beach

Sundlaug - swimming pool

Sápa - soap

Sturta - shower

Mount Esja is a well-known landmark in Reykjavik. The city has also some green areas, such as Hljómskálagarðurinn, Klambratún, Öskjuhlíð and Elliðarárdalur. There is salmon fishing in Elliðaá river.

Viðey is an island just off Reykjavik. Viðeyjarstofa is located on the island. It is the oldest stone house in Iceland, built in 1753-55. Viðeyjarkirkja is also on the island.

There are now two works of art by world-renowned artists in Viðey: Áfangar by Richard Serra and the Peace Column by Yoko Ono, which she made in 2007 in memory of her husband John Lennon.

There are many swimming pools in Reykjavik. People need to take a shower without bathing suits and wash before putting on their bathing suits and going in the pool.

From settlement until the 20th century, peat houses were the main part of Icelanders' housing. Peat houses are in fact made of wood, from simple timber frameworks to fully-finished houses, with plywood walls and roofs made of turf.

The old wooden houses and the wooden churches are an important part of Iceland's architectural heritage. Although most of them are older than 160 years old, they are just as important to the nation as many other old houses of many other nations. The old wooden houses are either dressed in timber or corrugated iron.

On the website of the Minjastofnun, it is stated that the corrugated iron clad residential building is hardly used anywhere else in the world. It can therefore be regarded as a special contribution by Icelanders to the world of architecture.

In 1918, Reykjavík was a town with close to 15,000 inhabitants. With the home rule in 1904, many began to consider Reykjavík as the capital of the country.

Thus, in the first decades of concrete houses, both concrete stone houses and walls were cast in molds. In a building regulation of 1903, concrete houses are said to be the same as stone houses, and after the fire in downtown Reykjavik in 1915, the construction of wooden houses was severely restricted in the annex to the building permit, since it was not possible to build from a building material other than concrete and the concrete age began.

Today glass is used more as a building material than before as you can see from the tower in Borgartún and Harpa. Harpan was awarded the Mies van der Rohe Award for Modern Architecture.

Byggingar - buildings

Arkitektúr - architecture

Stíll og hönnun - styles and design

Hús - house

Kirkja - church

Kennileiti - landmark