Iceland

Iceland is a country like no other. It is is an island with a spectacular but strange landscape. With a population of 350,000, it is one of the smallest countries in the world. While Iceland is smaller in terms of size and population, it is not small in terms of achievement. It prides itself of having a Nobel Prize winner. It even qualified for the FIFA World Cup Soccer finals in 2018.

Although Iceland is located near the Arctic Circle, the weather is not brutally cold. An underwater ocean current known as Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean keeps it warmer.

Mid-Atlantic ridge passes through Iceland dividing it into two parts, which drift away from each other at a rate of 2cm per year.

Reykjavik

The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik where the majority of the Icelandic population lives here. It is also the hub for tourists who visit Iceland.

A view of the city of Reykjavik from the Pearl
Reykjavik – A view from the Perl

Hallgrímskirkja

Located in central Reykjavik, Hallgrímskirkja church is an iconic landmark whose tower is visible from different parts of the city. It was named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, a well-known Icelandic poet who lived in the 17th century.

Hallgrímskirkja - Lutheran Parish Church in Reykjavik, Iceland
Hallgrímskirkja – Lutheran Parish Church in Reykjavik

As you can see from the image, the facade of this magnificent building is unique and eye-catching. It was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, who got his inspiration for this building from Iceland’s unique landscape, which includes glaciers and lava fields. The construction began in 1945, and it took 41 years to complete.

The statue of Leifur Eiríksson, a Viking explorer who visited the shores North America 500 years before Columbus, stands in front of the church.

Hallgrímskirkja is not only a popular tourist attraction but also an active Lutheran parish church.

Sun Voyager – Sculpture of a Viking Ship

Located on the shoreline of Reykjavik, this beautiful sculpture resembling a Viking ship is called the Sun Voyager (Solfar). Sculpted by Jón Gunnar Árnason of Iceland, it won the competition held in 1986 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Reykjavik. It was placed in the current location in 1989.

Sun Voyager - Model Viking ship in Reykjavik, Iceland
Sun Voyager – Model Viking ship

Harpa – Modern concert hall

Opened in 2011, Harpa has become a cultural center in Northern Europe and an iconic landmark of Reykjavik. It is located by the harbor and near another Reykjavik iconic landmark, the Sun Voyager.

Harpa - Modern concert hall in Reykjavik, Iceland
Harpa – Modern concert hall in Reykjavik

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Opera and Reykjavik Big Band hold concerts in this hall every year. It also attracts musicians and bands from all over the world.

The building was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects. Harpa also serves as a conference center.

Sculpture of an unknown bureaucrat in Reykjavik, Iceland
Sculpture of an unknown bureaucrat in Reykjavik

Northern Lights

The sky in Iceland is often lit with the Northern Lights (also known as Aurora Borealis), which is a result of some phenomenon occurring in the sun. When electronic storms occur in the sun, they throw into space a massive amount of charged particles, which are caught by the earth magnetic field at the poles. During this process, the charged particles collide with the gases on the earth’s atmosphere resulting in a spectacular display of multi-colored lights as shown in the images below.

Waterfalls

Iceland is home to several spectacular waterfalls.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss, which means Golden Waterfall in the Icelandic language, is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. Located 70 miles northeast of Reykjavik, Gullfoss is on the Hvítá River’s path. The Hvítá River gets its water from the nearby glaciers.

As you can see from the image, Gullfoss is a two-drop waterfall. The first drop is shorter and calmer, whereas the second drop is higher and fiercer. The water from the second drop falls into the Gullfossgjúfur canyon with an enormous force. With a height of 230 feet, the second drop is an awe-inspiring sight.

Gullfoss Waterfall: Two drops

Gullfoss Waterfall: Water falling into the canyon

Faxi Waterfall

Faxi is a small waterfall compared to Gullfoss. It is located on the Tungufljót River’s path near Skálholt Cathedral.

Faxi Waterfall

Geothermal Activities

Iceland is home a lot of geothermal activities and has two types geothermal areas, which are:

  • Hot areas : These are high temperature areas. Areas near volcanoes come under these category.
  • Cold areas: The areas outside the volcanic zone come under these category.

Strokkur Geyser

Located in the Geysir geothermal area of Iceland, the Strokkur Geyser is a spectacular sight during its eruption, which happens regularly at every 8 to 10 minutes. During eruption, it spews hot water to a height of 25 to 35 meters in the air.

Strokkur means churn in the Icelandic language. It is one of the few active geysers in the world that erupt at regular intervals. Some of the other famous geysers are Pohutu in Rotorua, New Zealand and Old Faithful in the Yellow Stone Park, USA. The video shows three continuous eruptions, which happens once in a way.

trokkur Geyser

Currency

The Icelandic currency is Icelandic Króna or krónur in the plural. The ISO symbol is ISK. The approximate exchange rate is 120 krónur for the US Dollar.

Copyright © 2019 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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