Iceland: A Nordic Island Country nestled in the North Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 332,529, and an area of 103,000 km2, Iceland is in fact the most sparsely populated country in all of Europe. One of its most impressively unique features. Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, and by far the largest city. Along with its surrounding areas in the southwest of the country, Reykjavik forms more than two thirds of the entire population.
Did you know that Iceland is a volcanically and geologically active country? Iceland’s interior features a picturesque plateau, peppered with sand, lava fields, mountains and glaciers. Many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands.
Not many people think of “Ice” land as a warm place, however, it is indeed warmed by the Gulf Stream, boasting a temperate climate, in spite of its high latitude on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle. However, Summers are kept cool thanks to the land’s marine influence (combined with a high latitude). Most of the archipelago boasts a tundra climate.
Iceland is infamous for its literary heritage; with roots stemming back to the 12th century. Still; Iceland’s culture is rich and varied, meaning no day goes by that is of a boring nature. Popular historical Icelandic traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, wood carving and more.
People & History
Iceland was first discovered by a group of Viking settlers who unearthed the country in the late 9th century A.D. All they found was an empty, uninhabited island. From that day forth, momentum was created. It’s thanks to that very group of Vikings that Iceland has evolved into the modern country it is today. While the spark of contemporary life is at every turn, the country’s rich cultural heritage is clear to see. The settlement period was traditionally thought to have lasted around 60 years (870 A.D. to 930 A.D) It is also assumed that all inhabitable land was claimed by this time, with the population standing at circa 30,000.
Iceland is a country of sharp contrasts. A place where fire and ice co-exist. Where dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun. A country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture.
Every country has that one thing that makes it so unique. While Iceland has several things, the country’s volcanic activity is a fact of life that locals are forced to come to know and love. The people of Iceland understand how to live with the drawbacks of the volcanoes, however, contrary to popular belief, there are many advantages too. These include geothermal energy, and a dramatically natural environment.
Iceland sits above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; a 40,000-km long crack in the ocean floor. This was initially caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. To this very today, Iceland is still growing by about 2.5cm per year! It splits wider at the point where the two tectonic plates actually meet. The west of the volcano zones (The western part of Iceland) falls under the North American Plate AND the eastern part to the Eurasian plate. Yes, this in fact means that Iceland spans two continents – a fun fact that not many people are aware of.