Monochrome, Night Time, Iconic Architecture, Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland.(PID:50673999783) Source
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Leif Erikson, Leiv Eiriksson or Leif Ericson[note 1] (c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He is thought to have been the first European to have set foot on continental North America (excluding Greenland), approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus. According to the sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, which is usually interpreted as being coastal North America. There is ongoing speculation that the settlement made by Leif and his crew corresponds to the remains of a Norse settlement found in Newfoundland, Canada, called L'Anse aux Meadows and which was occupied c. 1000. Leif was the son of Erik the Red, the founder of the first Norse settlement in Greenland and of Thjodhild (Þjóðhildur), both of Norwegian origin. His place of birth is not known, but he is assumed to have been born in Iceland, which had recently been colonized by Norsemen mainly from Norway. He grew up in the family estate Brattahlíð in the Eastern Settlement in Greenland. Leif had two known sons: Thorgils, born to noblewoman Thorgunna in the Hebrides; and Thorkell, who succeeded him as chieftain of the Greenland settlement. Early life Leif was the son of Erik the Red and his wife Thjodhild, and the grandson of Thorvald Ásvaldsson, and distant relative of Naddodd, who discovered Iceland. He was a Viking in the early days. His year of birth is most often given as c. 970 or c. 980. Though Leif's birthplace is not accounted for in the sagas, it is likely he was born in Iceland, where his parents met—probably somewhere on the edge of Breiðafjörður, and possibly at the farm Haukadal where Thjóðhild's family is said to have been based. Leif had two brothers, whose names were Thorsteinn and Thorvaldr, and a sister, Freydís. Thorvald Ásvaldsson was banished from Norway for manslaughter and went into exile in Iceland accompanied by young Erik. When Erik was banished from Iceland, he travelled further west to an area he named Greenland, where he established the first permanent settlement in 986. Tyrker, one of Erik's thralls, had been specially trusted to keep in charge of Erik's children, as Leif later referred to him as his "foster father". Discovering Vinland Leif Eriksson Discovers America by Hans Dahl (1849-1937) The words Leifr hinn heppni, "Leif the Lucky", written out in the early 14th century Hauksbók, the oldest manuscript of Eiríks saga rauða Modern recreation of the Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadows. The site was originally occupied c. 1000 and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1968 The Saga of Erik the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders, both thought to have been written around 1200, contain different accounts of the voyages to Vinland. The only two known strictly historical mentions of Vinland are found in the work of Adam of Bremen c. 1075 and in the Book of Icelanders compiled c. 1122 by Ari the Wise. According to the Saga of Erik the Red, Leif apparently saw Vinland for the first time after being blown off course on his way to introduce Christianity to Greenland. According to the Icelandic sagas, while in Vinland, Leif and his crew came into contact with "Red Indians" (as distinguished from the Inuit), whom they referred to as skrælingi, an archaic term for "wretches". According to these sagas, the encounters with the indigenous people were initially friendly with a strong trade relationship. Tensions rose when Leif's brother, Thorvald, was struck by an arrow in a fight with the skrælingi. He is famously known for pulling the arrow out, and poetically reciting the phrase, "This is a rich country we have found; there is plenty of fat around my entrails", upon which he dies. According to a literal interpretation of Einar Haugen's translation of the two sagas in the book Voyages to Vinland, Leif was not the first European to discover America: he had heard the story of merchant Bjarni Herjólfsson who claimed to have sighted land to the west of Greenland after having been blown off course. Bjarni reportedly never made landfall there, however. Later, when travelling from Norway to Greenland, Leif was also blown off course, to a land that he did not expect to see, where he found "self-sown wheat fields and grapevines." He next rescued two men who were shipwrecked and went back to Greenland and Christianised the people there. Leif then approached Bjarni, purchased his ship, gathered a crew of thirty-five men, and mounted an expedition towards the land Bjarni had described. His father Erik was set to join him but dropped out after he fell from his horse on his way to set sail, an incident he interpreted as a bad omen. Leif followed Bjarni's route in reverse and landed first in a rocky and desolate place he named Helluland (Flat-Rock Land; possibly Baffin Island or northern parts of Labrador). After venturing further by sea, he landed the second time in a forested place he named Markland (Forest Land; possibly near Cape Porcupine, Labrador). After two more days at sea, he landed on an island to the north (possibly Belle Isle), and then returned to the mainland, going past a cape on the north side (perhaps Cape Bauld). They sailed to the west of this and landed in a verdant area with a mild climate and plentiful supplies of salmon. As winter approached, he decided to encamp there and sent out parties to explore the country. During one of these explorations, Tyrker discovered that the land was full of vines and grapes. Leif therefore named the land Vinland ('Wineland'). There, he and his crew built a small settlement, which was called Leifsbudir (Leif's Booths) by later visitors from Greenland. After having wintered over in Vinland, Leif returned to Greenland in the spring with a cargo of grapes and timber. On the return voyage, he rescued an Icelandic castaway and his crew, earning him the nickname "Leif the Lucky". Research done in the early 1960s by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad, identified a Norse site located at the northern tip of Newfoundland. It has been suggested that this site, known as L'Anse aux Meadows, is Leifsbúðir. The Ingstads demonstrated that Norsemen had reached America about 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Later archaeological evidence suggests that Vinland may have been the areas around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that the L'Anse aux Meadows site was a ship repair station and waypoint for voyages there. That does not necessarily contradict the identification of L'Anse aux Meadows with Leifsbúðir since the two sagas appear to describe Vinland as a wider region which included several settlements. The Saga of Erik the Red mentions two other settlements in Vinland: a settlement called Straumfjǫrðr, which lay beyond Kjalarnes promontory and the Wonderstrands, and one called Hóp, which was located even farther south. Personal life Leif was described as a wise, considerate, and strong man of striking appearance. During his stay in the Hebrides, he fell in love with a noblewoman, Thorgunna, who gave birth to their son Thorgils. Thorgils was later sent to Leif in Greenland, but he did not become popular. Leif was converted to Christianity by the Christian King of Norway, Olaf Tryggvason, and after Leif's first trip to Vinland, he returned to the family estate of Brattahlíð in Greenland, and started preaching Christianity to the native population, at the commission of the King Olaf Tryggvason. This would make Leif the first Christian missionary to the New World, preceding even the voyages of Christopher Columbus. His father Erik reacted coldly to the suggestion that he should abandon his religion, while his mother Thjóðhildr quickly became a Christian and built a church called Thjóðhild's Church. Leif is last mentioned alive in 1019, and by 1025 he had passed on his chieftaincy of Eiríksfjǫrðr to another son, Thorkell. Nothing is mentioned about his death in the sagas—he probably died in Greenland some time between these dates. Nothing further is known about his family beyond the succession of Thorkell as chieftain. Legacy Norse and Medieval Europe Discovery of America, a postage stamp from the Faroe Islands which commemorates both Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus Leif's successful expedition in Vinland encouraged other Norsemen to also make the journey. The first apparent contact between the Norse and the indigenous people, who the Norse later referred to as skrælingjar, was made by his brother Thorvald, and resulted in conflict. Leif Erikson's brother is said to have had the first contact with the native population of North America which would come to be known as the skrælings. After capturing and killing eight of the natives, they were attacked at their beached ships, which they defended. The Norse were the first Europeans to colonize the Americas. In the end there were no permanent Norse settlements in Vinland, although sporadic voyages at least to Markland for forages, timber and trade possibly lasted for centuries. The casual tone of references to these areas may suggest that their discovery was not seen as particularly significant by contemporaries, or that it was assumed to be public knowledge, or both. Knowledge of the Vinland journeys spread around medieval Europe although to what extent is unclear; writers made mention of remote lands to the west, and notably the medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen directly mentions Vinland (c. 1075) based upon reports from the Danes.[note 2] It has been suggested that the knowledge of Vinland might have been maintained in European seaports in the 15th century, and that Christopher Columbus, who claimed in a letter to have visited Iceland in 1477, could have heard stories of it. Another instance of exchange between the continents occurred in 1420, when Inuit captives were taken to Scandinavia. Their kayaks were put on display in the Tromsø's cathedral. Travels and commemoration Stories of Leif's journey to North America had a profound effect on the identity and self-perception of later Nordic Americans and Nordic immigrants to the United States. The first statue of Leif (by Anne Whitney) was erected in Boston in 1887 at the instigation of Eben Norton Horsford, who was among those who believed that Vinland could have been located on the Charles River or Cape Cod; not long after, another casting of Whitney's statue was erected in Milwaukee. A statue was also erected in Chicago in 1901, having been originally commissioned for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition to coincide with the arrival of the reconstructed Viking ship from Bergen, Norway. Another work of art made for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the painting Leiv Eiriksson oppdager Amerika by Christian Krohg, was in the possession of a Leif Erikson Memorial Association in Chicago before being given back to the National Gallery of Norway in 1900. For the centenary of the first official immigration of Norwegians to America, President Calvin Coolidge stated at the 1925 Minnesota State Fair, to a crowd of 100,000 people, that Leif had indeed been the first European to discover America. Additional statues of him were erected at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul in 1949, near Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1956, and in downtown Seattle. The Sagas do not give the exact date of Leif Erikson's landfall in America, but state only that it was in the fall of the year. At the suggestion of Christian A. Hoen, Edgerton, Wis., 9 October was settled upon, as that already was a historic date for Norwegians in America, the ship Restaurationen having arrived in New York Harbor on 9 October 1825 from Stavanger with the first organized party of Norwegian immigrants. In 1924, a party of four consisting of a Swede, an Englishman, and two Americans attempted to emulate Erikson's voyage in an eponymous 40-foot vessel but were lost after reaching the west coast of Greenland.:267 On October 6, 2000 President Bill Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 7358, proclaiming Monday, October 9, 2000 as Leif Erikson Day. In 1929, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill to make 9 October "Leif Erikson Day" in the state. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized and requested the president to proclaim 9 October of each year as "Leif Erikson Day". In 1930, a statue of Erikson was erected in the city center of Reykjavík, Iceland – currently situated in front of Hallgrímskirkja — as a gift from the United States to Iceland to commemorate the 1,000 year anniversary of Alþingi, the parliament of Iceland. The Leif Erikson Awards, established 2015, are awarded annually by the Exploration Museum in Húsavík, Iceland. They are awarded for achievements in exploration and in the study of the history of exploration. Several ships are named after Leif - a viking ship replica, a passenger ship, and a large dredger. Leif Eriksson Memorial (1929–1932), Reykjavík, Iceland. This statue is at the front of the Hallgrímskirkja. There is a copy of this statue in Newport News, Virginia, USA. A 'Leif Ericson' proof dollar from the United States, minted in 2000. It reads 'Founder of the New World' The character 'Leif Ericson' features in this Japanese manga adaptation of the Vinland sagas. Erikson is the main character in the 1928 film The Viking. Leif is one of the main characters in Makoto Yukimura's manga Vinland Saga. Leif Ericson is the main character in the juvenile historical novel Vinland the Good. The author is Henry Treece, and it is illustrated by William Stobbs. It is an account of Viking Era explorations, based mainly on the Greenland saga. An Old Captivity is a novel which involves a dream sequence featuring a character called Leif Ericson. Notably, it also features an attempt to uncover historical Viking settlements using air surveys. It was written by Nevil Shute and published in 1940. Hallgrímskirkja (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈhatl̥krimsˌcʰɪr̥ca], church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft) high, it is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in the country. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), author of the Passion Hymns. Description Situated on a hilltop near the centre of Reykjavík, the church is one of the city's best-known landmarks and is visible throughout the city. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the trap rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland's landscape. The design is similar in style to the expressionist architecture of Grundtvig's Church of Copenhagen, Denmark, completed in 1940. It took 41 years to build the church: construction started in 1945 and ended in 1986, but the landmark tower was completed long before the whole church was finished. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings were completed in 1974, and the nave was consecrated in 1986. At the time of construction, the building was criticized as too old-fashioned and as a blend of different architectural styles. The church was originally intended to be less tall, but the leaders of the Church of Iceland wanted a large spire so as to outshine Landakotskirkja (Landakot's Church), which was the cathedral of the Catholic Church in Iceland. The interior is 1,676 square metres (18,040 sq ft). In 2008, the church underwent a major restoration of the main tower, and was covered in scaffolding. In late 2009, restoration was completed and the scaffolding was removed. The church houses a large pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has electronic action; the pipes are remote from the four manuals and pedal console. There are 102 ranks, 72 stops and 5275 pipes. It is 15 metres (49 ft) tall and weighs 25 metric tons (25 long tons; 28 short tons). Its construction was finished in December 1992. It has been recorded by Christopher Herrick in his Organ Fireworks VII CD and by Mattias Wager [sv] on his CD Live at Vatnajökull. The church is also used as an observation tower. An observer can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains. The church is still used today for modern services and weddings. The statue of explorer Leif Erikson (c.970 – c.1020) by Alexander Stirling Calder in front of the church predates its construction. It was a gift from the United States in honor of the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the convening of Iceland's parliament at Þingvellir in 930 AD. Opening hours Winter (October – April): 9 am – 5 pm Summer (May – September): 9 am – 9 pm Reykjavík (/ˈreɪkjəvɪk, -viːk/ RAYK-yə-vik, -veek; Icelandic: [ˈreiːcaˌviːk] (About this soundlisten)) is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay. Its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state.[a] With a population of around 131,136 (and 233,034 in the Capital Region), it is the center of Iceland's cultural, economic, and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which, according to Landnámabók, was established by Ingólfr Arnarson in AD 874. Until the 19th century, there was no urban planning in the city location. The city was founded in 1785 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the following decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, population, and governmental activities. It is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. The first permanent settlement in Iceland by Norsemen is believed to have been established at Reykjavík by Ingólfr Arnarson around AD 870; this is described in Landnámabók, or the Book of Settlement. Ingólfur is said to have decided the location of his settlement using a traditional Norse method: he cast his high seat pillars (Öndvegissúlur) into the ocean when he saw the coastline, then settled where the pillars came to shore. This story is widely regarded as a legend; it appears likely that he settled near the hot springs to keep warm in the winter and would not have decided the location by happenstance. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that the pillars drifted to that location from where they were said to have been thrown from the boat. Nevertheless, that is what the Landnamabok says, and it says furthermore that Ingólfur's pillars are still to be found in a house in the town. Steam from hot springs in the region is said to have inspired Reykjavík's name, which loosely translates to Smoke Cove (the city is sometimes referred to as Bay of Smoke or Smoky Bay in English language travel guides). In the modern language, as in English, the word for 'smoke' and the word for fog or steamy vapour are not commonly confused, but this is believed to have been the case in the old language. The original name was Reykjarvík (with an additional "r" representing the usual genitive ending of strong nouns) but this had vanished around 1800. The Reykjavík area was farmland until the 18th century. In 1752, King Frederik V of Denmark donated the estate of Reykjavík to the Innréttingar Corporation; the name comes from the Danish-language word indretninger, meaning institution. The leader of this movement was Skúli Magnússon [is]. In the 1750s, several houses were built to house the wool industry, which was Reykjavík's most important employer for a few decades and the original reason for its existence. Other industries were undertaken by the Innréttingar, such as fisheries, sulphur mining, agriculture, and shipbuilding. The Danish Crown abolished monopoly trading in 1786 and granted six communities around the country an exclusive trading charter. Reykjavík was one of them and the only one to hold on to the charter permanently. 1786 is thus regarded as the date of the city's founding. Trading rights were limited to subjects of the Danish Crown, and Danish traders continued to dominate trade in Iceland. Over the following decades, their business in Iceland expanded. After 1880, free trade was expanded to all nationalities, and the influence of Icelandic merchants started to grow. Rise of nationalism Reykjavík in 1881 Reykjavik in the 1920s. Icelandic nationalist sentiment gained influence in the 19th century, and the idea of Icelandic independence became widespread. Reykjavík, as Iceland's only city, was central to such ideas. Advocates of an independent Iceland realized that a strong Reykjavík was fundamental to that objective. All the important events in the history of the independence struggle were important to Reykjavík as well. In 1845 Alþingi, the general assembly formed in 930 AD, was re-established in Reykjavík; it had been suspended a few decades earlier when it was located at Þingvellir. At the time it functioned only as an advisory assembly, advising the king about Icelandic affairs. The location of Alþingi in Reykjavík effectively established the city as the capital of Iceland. In 1874, Iceland was given a constitution; with it, Alþingi gained some limited legislative powers and in essence became the institution that it is today. The next step was to move most of the executive power to Iceland: Home Rule was granted in 1904 when the office of Minister For Iceland was established in Reykjavík. The biggest step towards an independent Iceland was taken on 1 December 1918 when Iceland became a sovereign country under the Crown of Denmark, the Kingdom of Iceland. By the 1920s and 1930s, most of the growing Icelandic fishing trawler fleet sailed from Reykjavík; cod production was its main industry, but the Great Depression hit Reykjavík hard with unemployment, and labour union struggles sometimes became violent. World War II On the morning of 10 May 1940, following the German occupation of Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940, four British warships approached Reykjavík and anchored in the harbour. In a few hours, the allied occupation of Reykjavík was complete. There was no armed resistance, and taxi and truck drivers even assisted the invasion force, which initially had no motor vehicles. The Icelandic government had received many requests from the British government to consent to the occupation, but it always declined on the basis of the Neutrality Policy. For the remaining years of World War II, British and later American soldiers occupied camps in Reykjavík, and the number of foreign soldiers in Reykjavík became about the same as the local population of the city. The Royal Regiment of Canada formed part of the garrison in Iceland during the early part of the war. The economic effects of the occupation were positive for Reykjavík: the unemployment of the Depression years vanished, and construction work began. The British built Reykjavík Airport, which remains in service today, mostly for short haul flights (to domestic destinations and Greenland). The Americans, meanwhile, built Keflavík Airport, situated 50 km (31 mi) west of Reykjavík, which became Iceland's primary international airport. In 1944, the Republic of Iceland was founded and a president, elected by the people, replaced the king; the office of the president was placed in Reykjavík. Post-war development In the post-war years, the growth of Reykjavík accelerated. An exodus from the rural countryside began, largely because improved technology in agriculture reduced the need for manpower, and because of a population boom resulting from better living conditions in the country. A once-primitive village was rapidly transformed into a modern city. Private cars became common, and modern apartment complexes rose in the expanding suburbs. In 1972, Reykjavík hosted the world chess championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. The 1986 Reykjavík Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev underlined Reykjavík's international status. Deregulation in the financial sector and the computer revolution of the 1990s again transformed Reykjavík. The financial and IT sectors are now significant employers in the city. The city has fostered some world-famous musicians and artists in recent decades, such as Björk, Ólafur Arnalds and bands Múm, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men, poet Sjón and visual artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Esja, the mountain range to the north of Reykjavík Reykjavík is located in the southwest of Iceland. The Reykjavík area coastline is characterized by peninsulas, coves, straits, and islands. During the Ice Age (up to 10,000 years ago) a large glacier covered parts of the city area, reaching as far out as Álftanes. Other parts of the city area were covered by sea water. In the warm periods and at the end of the Ice Age, some hills like Öskjuhlíð were islands. The former sea level is indicated by sediments (with clams) reaching (at Öskjuhlíð, for example) as far as 43 m (141 ft) above the current sea level. The hills of Öskjuhlíð and Skólavörðuholt appear to be the remains of former shield volcanoes which were active during the warm periods of the Ice Age. After the Ice Age, the land rose as the heavy load of the glaciers fell away, and began to look as it does today. The capital city area continued to be shaped by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, like the one 4,500 years ago in the mountain range Bláfjöll, when the lava coming down the Elliðaá valley reached the sea at the bay of Elliðavogur. The largest river to run through Reykjavík is the Elliðaá River, which is non-navigable. It offers salmon fishing within the city limits. Mount Esja, at 914 m (2,999 ft), is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavík. The city of Reykjavík is mostly located on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, but the suburbs reach far out to the south and east. Reykjavík is a spread-out city: most of its urban area consists of low-density suburbs, and houses are usually widely spaced. The outer residential neighbourhoods are also widely spaced from each other; in between them are the main traffic arteries and a lot of empty space. The city's latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state (Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is slightly further north at 64°10' (about 80km) but Greenland is a constituent country, not an independent state). Panorama of Reykjavík seen from Perlan with the mountains Akrafjall (middle) and Esja (right) in the background Panorama of Reykjavík seen from Perlan at sunset in summer. As seen in the picture, Reykjavík's climate is mild enough for trees to grow. Climate Reykjavík has a subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfc) closely bordering on a continental subarctic climate (Köppen: Dfc) in the 0 °C isoterm. The city has had its present climate classification since the beginning of the 20th century. At 64° north, Reykjavik is characterized by extremes of day and night length over the course of the year. From 20 May to 24 July, daylight is essentially permanent as the sun never gets more than 5° below the horizon. Day length drops to less than five hours between 2 December and 10 January. The sun climbs just 3° above the horizon during this time. However, day length begins increasing rapidly during January and by month's end there are seven hours of daylight. Despite its northern latitude, temperatures very rarely drop below −15 °C (5 °F) in the winter. The proximity to the Arctic Circle and the strong moderation of the Atlantic Ocean in the Icelandic coast (influence of North Atlantic Current, an extension of the Gulf Stream) shape a relatively mild winter and cool summer. The city's coastal location does make it prone to wind, however, and gales are common in winter (influence of the Icelandic Low). Summers are cool, with temperatures fluctuating between 10 and 15 °C (50 and 59 °F), rarely exceeding 20 °C (68 °F). This is a result of exposure to the maritime winds in its exposed west coast location that causes it to be much cooler in summer than similar latitudes in mainland Scandinavia. Reykjavík averages 147 days of rain (more than 1 mm) per year. Droughts are uncommon, although they occur in some summers. July and August are the warmest months of the year on average and January and February the coldest. In the summer of 2007, no rain was measured for one month. Summer tends to be the sunniest season, although May averages the most sunshine of any individual month. Overall, the city receives around 1,300 annual hours of sunshine, which is comparable with other places in northern and north-western Europe such as Ireland and Scotland, but substantially less than equally northern regions with a more continental climate, including the Bothnian Bay basin in Scandinavia. Nonetheless, Reykjavík is one of the cloudiest and coolest capitals of any nation in the world. The highest temperature recorded in Reykjavík was 25.7 °C (78 °F), reported on 30 July 2008, while the lowest-ever recorded temperature was −24.5 °C (−12 °F), recorded on 21 January 1918. The coldest month on record is January 1918, with a mean temperature of −7.2 °C (19 °F). The warmest is July 2019, with a mean temperature of 13.4 °C (56 °F). City administration The Reykjavík City Council governs the city of Reykjavík and is directly elected by those aged over 18 domiciled in the city. The council has 23 members who are elected using the open list method for four-year terms. The council selects members of boards, and each board controls a different field under the city council's authority. The most important board is the City Board that wields the executive rights along with the City Mayor. The City Mayor is the senior public official and also the director of city operations. Other public officials control city institutions under the mayor's authority. Thus, the administration consists of two different parts: The political power of City Council cascading down to other boards Public officials under the authority of the city mayor who administer and manage implementation of policy. Political control The Independence Party was historically the city's ruling party; it had an overall majority from its establishment in 1929 until 1978, when it narrowly lost. From 1978 until 1982, there was a three-party coalition composed of the People's Alliance, the Social Democratic Party, and the Progressive Party. In 1982, the Independence Party regained an overall majority, which it held for three consecutive terms. The 1994 election was won by Reykjavíkurlistinn (the R-list), an alliance of Icelandic socialist parties, led by Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir. This alliance won a majority in three consecutive elections, but was dissolved for the 2006 election when five different parties were on the ballot. The Independence Party won seven seats, and together with the one Progressive Party they were able to form a new majority in the council which took over in June 2006. In October 2007 a new majority was formed on the council, consisting of members of the Progressive Party, the Social Democratic Alliance, the Left-Greens and the F-list (liberals and independents), after controversy regarding REI, a subsidiary of OR, the city's energy company. However, three months later the F-list formed a new majority together with the Independence Party. Ólafur F. Magnússon, the leader of the F-list, was elected mayor on 24 January 2008, and in March 2009 the Independence Party was due to appoint a new mayor. This changed once again on 14 August 2008 when the fourth coalition of the term was formed, by the Independence Party and the Social Democratic Alliance, with Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir becoming mayor. The City Council election in May 2010 saw a new political party, The Best Party, win six of 15 seats, and they formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Alliance; comedian Jón Gnarr became mayor. At the 2014 election, the Social Democratic Alliance had its best showing yet, gaining five seats in the council, while Bright Future (successor to the Best Party) received two seats and the two parties formed a coalition with the Left-Green movement and the Pirate Party, which won one seat each. The Independence Party had its worst election ever, with only four seats. Mayor Main article: Mayor of Reykjavík City The mayor is appointed by the city council; usually one of the council members is chosen, but they may also appoint a mayor who is not a member of the council. The post was created in 1907 and advertised in 1908. Two applications were received, from Páll Einarsson, sheriff and town mayor of Hafnarfjörður and from Knud Zimsen, town councillor in Reykjavík. Páll was appointed on 7 May and was mayor for six years. At that time the city mayor received a salary of 4,500 ISK per year and 1,500 ISK for office expenses. The current mayor is Dagur B. Eggertsson. Demographics This residential area is located in front of the ocean. Residential area of Reykjavík Main article: Demographics of Iceland Reykjavík is by far the largest and most populous settlement in Iceland. The municipality of Reykjavík had a population of 131,136 on 1 January 2020; that is 36% of the country's population. The Capital Region, which includes the capital and six municipalities around it, was home to 233,034 people; that is about 64% of the country's population. On 1 January 2019, of the city's population of 128,793, immigrants of the first and second generation numbered 23,995 (18.6%), increasing from 12,352 (10.4%) in 2008 and 3,106 (2.9%) in 1998. The most common foreign citizens are Poles, Lithuanians, and Latvians. About 80% of the city's foreign residents originate in European Union and EFTA member states, and over 58% are from the new member states of the EU, mainly former Eastern Bloc countries, which joined in 2004, 2007 and 2013. Children of foreign origin form a more considerable minority in the city's schools: as many as a third in places. The city is also visited by thousands of tourists, students, and other temporary residents, at times outnumbering natives in the city centre. Residents by citizenship (1 January 1998 – 2018) a Showing only countries with 20 or more citizens in the 2018 census. b Including citizens of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. c Not included in the 1998 census. See Yugoslavia. d Included as part of Serbia in the 2008 census, and as part of Yugoslavia in the 1998 census. e Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992–2006). Some persons who were registered as Yugoslavians after 1992 may in fact have origins in any of the six original republics of the union. f Including citizens of unspecified countries of former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. g Including the Nordic countries except Iceland. h Not including the 2013 enlargement of the European Union. i Not including the 2004 and 2007 enlargement of the European Union. j Excluding Iceland. Historical population of Reykjavík. Districts Districts of Reykjavík Reykjavík is divided into 10 districts: Vesturbær (District 1) Miðborg (District 2, city centre) Hlíðar (District 3) Laugardalur (District 4) Háaleiti og Bústaðir (District 5) Breiðholt (District 6) Árbær (District 7) Grafarvogur (District 8) Kjalarnes (District 9) (in the north) Grafarholt og Úlfarsárdalur (District 10) In addition there are hinterland areas (lightly shaded on the map) which are not assigned to any district. Economy Borgartún is the financial centre of Reykjavík, hosting a large number of companies and three investment banks. Old whaling ships Hvalur 6, 7, 8 and 9 Reykjavík has been at the centre of Iceland's economic growth and subsequent economic contraction over the 2000s, a period referred to in foreign media as the "Nordic Tiger" years, or "Iceland's Boom Years". The economic boom led to a sharp increase in construction, with large redevelopment projects such as Harpa concert hall and conference centre and others. Many of these projects came to a halt in the following economic crash of 2008. Infrastructure Roads Per capita car ownership in Iceland is among the highest in the world at roughly 522 vehicles per 1,000 residents, though Reykjavík is not severely affected by congestion. Several multi-lane highways (mainly dual carriageways) run between the most heavily populated areas and most frequently driven routes. Parking spaces are also plentiful in most areas. Public transportation consists of a bus system called Strætó bs. Route 1 (the Ring Road) runs through the city outskirts and connects the city to the rest of Iceland. Airports and seaports Reykjavík Airport, the second largest airport in the country (after Keflavík International Airport), is positioned inside the city, just south of the city centre. It is mainly used for domestic flights, as well as flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Since 1962, there has been some controversy regarding the location of the airport, since it takes up a lot of valuable space in central Reykjavík. Reykjavík has two seaports, the old harbour near the city centre which is mainly used by fishermen and cruise ships, and Sundahöfn in the east city which is the largest cargo port in the country. Old Harbour Railways Two steam locomotives were used to build the harbour Reykjavík Docks railway; both are now on display in Reykjavík There are no public railways in Iceland, because of its sparse population, but the locomotives used to build the docks are on display. Proposals have been made for a high-speed rail link between the city and Keflavík. District heating See also: Geothermal power in Iceland Volcanic activity provides Reykjavík with geothermal heating systems for both residential and industrial districts. In 2008, natural hot water was used to heat roughly 90% of all buildings in Iceland. Of total annual use of geothermal energy of 39 PJ, space heating accounted for 48%. Most of the district heating in Iceland comes from three main geothermal power plants: Svartsengi combined heat and power plant (CHP) Nesjavellir CHP plant Hellisheiði CHP plant Cultural heritage Safnahúsið (the Culture House) was opened in 1909 and has a number of important exhibits. Originally built to house the National Library and National Archives and also previously the location of the National Museum and Natural History Museum, in 2000 it was re-modeled to promote the Icelandic national heritage. Many of Iceland's national treasures are on display, such as the Poetic Edda, and the Sagas in their original manuscripts. There are also changing exhibitions of various topics. Literary heritage Reykjavík is the capital, and in fact Iceland’s only city, and as such, it plays a vital role in all cultural life in the country. The city is home to Iceland’s main cultural institutions, boasts a flourishing arts scene and is renowned as a creative city with a diverse range of cultural happenings and dynamic grassroots activities. Most of the country’s writers live in the city, and it also provides the setting for the majority of contemporary Icelandic literature – a development that has gone hand in hand with the rapid expansion of the city in the past 100 years or so. Reykjavík is home to Icelandic medieval literature, including the Sagas of the Icelanders and the Poetic Edda, landmarks of world literature still widely read and translated today. This literary heritage is the core of the nation’s identity and narrative art is the single most important part of its cultural history. The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík is the centre of this heritage. It preserves manuscripts, conducts research on them and publishes texts for the public, in addition to offering research facilities and tutoring to foreign scholars and students. The Arnamagnean Manuscript Collection was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register on 31 July 2009. Reykjavík city was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011 and joined then the UNESCO Creatives Cities network. Iceland is one of the smallest linguistic areas in the world, with only around 330,000 inhabitants and very few speakers outside the country. The language has not changed much since the time of settlement in the 9th century and modern Icelanders can still read the original medieval texts with relative ease. Literature plays a vital role in cherishing and cultivating the language, both original Icelandic literature and translations. Language undergoes constant renewal and development in fiction, and translation of foreign work has also been instrumental in conserving this thousand-year-old literary language. Award-winning authors Several Reykjavík writers have received international and Nordic awards. Halldór Laxness was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955 for “vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland”. The House of Halldór Laxness, Gljúfrasteinn, in the capital area can be visited year-round. A number of writers have won the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, among them are Thor Vilhjálmsson, Einar Már Guðmundsson and Sjón, and authors such as Guðrún Helgadóttir, Kristín Steinsdóttir and Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir are winners of The Nordic Children’s Literature Prize. Crime writer Arnaldur Indriðason has won prizes abroad, including The Golden Dagger Award. Among other prizes awarded to writers from Reykjavík are the Kairos Preis (Andri Snaer Magnason), the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Literature Prize (Guðbergur Bergsson) and the Prix de Page (Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir). Contemporary Icelandic writers are published in an increased number in translations throughout the world. Lifestyle Nightlife Laugavegur main street in downtown Reykjavík Alcohol is expensive at bars. People tend to drink at home before going out. Beer was banned in Iceland until 1 March 1989 but has since become popular among many Icelanders as their alcoholic drink of choice. Live music The Iceland Airwaves music festival is staged annually in November. This festival takes place all over the city, and the concert venue Harpa is one of the main locations. Other venues that frequently organise live music events are Kex, Húrra, Gaukurinn (grunge, metal, punk), Mengi (centre for contemporary music, avant-garde music and experimental music), the Icelandic Opera and the National Theatre of Iceland for classical music. New Year's Eve The arrival of the new year is a particular cause for celebration to the people of Reykjavík. Icelandic law states that anyone may purchase and use fireworks during a certain period around New Year's Eve. As a result, every New Year's Eve the city is lit up with fireworks displays. Main sights Austurstræti street Alþingishúsið – the Icelandic parliament building Austurvöllur – a park in central Reykjavík surrounded by restaurants and bars Árbæjarsafn (Reykjavík Open Air Museum) – Reykjavík's Municipal Museum CIA.IS – Center for Icelandic Art – general information on Icelandic visual art Hallgrímskirkja – the largest church in Iceland Harpa Reykjavík – Reykjavík Concert & Conference Center Heiðmörk – the largest forest and nature reserve in the area Höfði – the house in which Gorbachev and Reagan met in 1986 for the Iceland Summit Kringlan – the second-largest shopping mall in Iceland Laugardalslaug – swimming pool Laugavegur – main shopping street National and University Library of Iceland (Þjóðarbókhlaðan) National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafnið) Nauthólsvík – a geothermally-heated beach Perlan – a glass dome resting on five water tanks Ráðhús Reykjavíkur – city hall Rauðhólar – a cluster of red pseudo- craters Reykjavík 871±2 – exhibition of an archaeological excavation of a Viking-age longhouse, from about AD 930 Reykjavík Art Museum – the largest visual art institution in Iceland Safnahúsið, culture house, National Centre for Cultural Heritage (Þjóðmenningarhúsið) Tjörnin – a small lake in central Reykjavík University of Iceland Vikin Maritime Museum – a maritime museum located by the old harbour Reykjavík Botanic Garden Recreation Reykjavik Golf Club was established in 1934. It is the oldest and largest golf club in Iceland. It consists of two 18-hole courses—one at Grafarholt and the other at Korpa. The Grafarholt golf course opened in 1963, which makes it the oldest 18-hole golf course in Iceland. The Korpa golf course opened in 1997. Education Secondary schools Borgarholtsskóli (Borgó) Fjölbrautaskólinn í Breiðholti (FB) Fjölbrautaskólinn við Ármúla (FÁ) Kvennaskólinn í Reykjavík (Kvennó) Menntaskólinn Hraðbraut Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík (MR) Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð (MH) Menntaskólinn við Sund (MS) Tækniskólinn Verzlunarskóli Íslands (Verzló) Universities Iceland Academy of the Arts Reykjavík University University of Iceland International schools International School of Iceland International Department at Landakotsskóli Sports teams Laugardalsvöllur Football Úrvalsdeild Fylkir KR Leiknir R. Valur Víkingur 1. deild karla Fram Fjölnir Kórdrengir Leiknir R. Other Glímufélagið Ármann (sports club) Skautafélag Reykjavíkur (hockey) Skylmingafélag Reykjavíkur (fencing) Skotfélag Reykjavíkur (shooting) Íþróttafélag fatlaðra í Reykjavík (sports club for the disabled in Reykjavik) Twin towns and sister cities Further information: List of twin towns and sister cities in Iceland This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Reykjavík is twinned with: Azerbaijan Baku, Azerbaijan Venezuela Caracas, Venezuela Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark Finland Helsinki, Finland United Kingdom Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom Bolivia La Paz, Bolivia Mexico Mexico City, Mexico Russia Moscow, Russia Greenland Nuuk, Greenland Norway Oslo, Norway Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia United States Seattle, United States (since 1986) Sweden Stockholm, Sweden North Macedonia Strumica, North Macedonia Faroe Islands Tórshavn, Faroe Islands Lithuania Vilnius, Lithuania Canada Winnipeg, Canada Poland Wrocław, Poland Netherlands Zevenaar, Netherlands In July 2013, mayor Jón Gnarr filed a motion before the city council to terminate the city's relationship with Moscow, in response to a trend of anti-gay legislation in Russia
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