Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland [ˈistlant]) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population.
Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
was a key historical character in the Medieval Icelandic Laxdœla saga
, born around 1006
in Orlygsstadir, at Helgafell
on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
. He was held in the highest regard among the contemporary Scandinavian
rulers, and also in the Byzantine Empire
, where he became the first known West Norseman in the Varangian Guard
. It is believed that he had reached the rank of "Manglabites
" in the Byzantine army
, and on his return to Iceland, his finery and recognition earned him the name "Bolli the Elegant".
His importance in the literary context of the saga is his prominence as the son of Bolli Þorleiksson and Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, the two central characters of the work. In addition to this role, his own tale, the Bollaþáttur, was later appended to the end of the manuscripts in the early 14th century.
Ósvör, a replica of an old fishing outpost outside Bolungarvík
Graphical depiction of Iceland's product exports in 28 colour-coded categories
A church in the northwest of Iceland
Gullfoss, an iconic waterfall of Iceland
The Arctic fox is the only indigenous land mammal in Iceland and was the only land mammal prior to the arrival of humans
The political system of Iceland
Reykjavík, Iceland's largest metropolitan area and the centre of the Capital Region which, with a population of 212,385, makes for 63% of Iceland's population. (numbers from 2016)
Three typical Icelandic landscapes
Akureyri is the largest town in Iceland outside the Capital Region. Most rural towns are based on the fishing industry, which provides 40% of Iceland's exports
Singer-songwriter Björk, the best-known Icelandic musician
British and Icelandic vessels collide in the Atlantic Ocean during the Cod Wars (Icelandic vessel is shown on the left; the British vessel is on the right)
Nordic prime ministers and the president of Finland visiting the White House in 2016, with Iceland's Sigurður second from the left.
A typical Þorramatur assortment.
High-field overview of area around Reykir
A map of Iceland published in the early 17th century
Ingólfr Arnarson (modern Icelandic: Ingólfur Arnarson), the first permanent Scandinavian settler
- November 24 2016: The Icelandic nation sues Iceland Foods in the UK for trademarking the name Iceland.(BBC)
- October 30 2016: Icelandic parliamentary elections make the final shape of an new government unclear. (Guardian)
- September 5 2016: Ancient viking sword found in Skaftárhreppur, South-Iceland. (RT)
- April 7 2016: The Icelandic prime minister resigns and calls for an early elections due to the Panama papers leak. (Reuters)
Did you know...
By repeated explosions in a number of locations, groups of craters have built up and now dominate the landscape on the shore of Lake Mývatn and also form some of the islands in the lake.
Things you can do
Wikipedia in Icelandic
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