The Energetic Northern Capital, Reykjavik
Author: Tatyana Kogut.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, the young and blazing city full of contrasts. Even though its rather large (about 115 000 inhabitants), its absolutely clean and safe. None of the world capitals looks like Reykjavik. This city has its own flavor and unique atmosphere. Its the island’s largest city and the «most northern» of the European capitals. Its not as big as some other capitals, however, its charm and individuality are highly valued by its citizens and tourists.
Calm and quiet outside, inside Reykjavik boils with events day and night: national holidays, culture festivals, sports competitions. By the way, just like the whole Iceland, Reykjavik reflects the character and temperament its citizens have. The city name is transalted as «the smoky bay» (from Icelandic), the city itself was founded in 874 by Ingólfur Arnarson. In the beginning of the XIX century there were only 300 people living here, 100 years later Reykjavik population reached about 2000 people, and nowadays it has the population of about 17 thousand. The territory between the Tjornin pond and the bay could be called the true heart of Reykjavik, occupied by the Parliament Square, Austurstraeti street and numerous souvenir shops. Tousrist information centre can be found at Adalstraeti street — one of the oldest city streets.
Don’t miss a walk to one of the main city attractions – Hallgrimskirkja church, the largest church in Iceland. Its entrance is adorned with a monument to Leifr Eiriksson — the first European who visited America. The monument is an American gift. The church was built in 1974 and is renowned for its tall tower, which offers unforgettable views on the city.
The City Hall is an impressive building on the nortern side of Tjornin right in the city centre. The building accomodates Reykjavik administration offices, exhibition halls and a huge map depicting Iceland.
The Pearl (Perlan) is an interesting and an unusual building, constructed in 1988. There are several things located under its dome: a restaurant, the Saga museum, pools and an artificial geyser. Observe magnificent city views from Perlan’s Viewing Deck. Strokkur is another geyser, but next to the Pearl. Laugardalur is the sports centre with Reykjavik’s largest hot pool, Botanic garden and a zoo.
Built in 1909, Hofdi House is considered to be one of the most beautiful city buildings. Its is here that in 1986 US President Ronald Regan and USSR General Secretary Mikail Gorbachev met.
Reykjavik is a combination of provincial atmosphere and a truly cosmopolitan way of living. Its always energetic and full of life: theatres, operas, museums, concerts, cinema festivals, culinary events, jazz and pop concerts, runic exotics. The city’s most curious clubs and bars are: Pravda, Prikid, Café 22, Club NASA and Nelly’s, Gaukur a Stong, The Dubliner, Glaumbar, Café Victor, Kaffibarinn, Sportkaffi, Vegamont etc., many of which are located at the narrow Laugavegur street. Another local attraction is the Phallological Museum which contains more than 150 exhibits.
The annual Hippie festival takes place in Reykjavik every March, but the main event of the kind is called Iceland Airwaves. The festival is visited by bands from all around the world. Most names are known to experts only, however, it does not mean they are less skilled and talented then the world stars.
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