ReykjavÝk (population 113,387, 2003 census) is the capital of Iceland. According to Landnßmabˇk, the Book of Settlements, the first permanent settler of Iceland, Ingˇlfur Arnarson, decided to settle in ReykjavÝk after his high-seat pillars had washed upon the shore there. The year is generally admitted to have been 874. ReykjavÝk remained a tiny village until 1786, when the town was granted its municipal charter. Today, the city and its 6 suburbs:
- Kˇpavogur: 25,291
- Seltjarnarnes: 4,566
- GarabŠr: 8,863
- Hafnarfj÷rur: 21,190
- MosfellsbŠr: 6,573
- ┴lftanes: 1,876
Current mayor, as of February 1, 2003: Ůˇrˇlfur ┴rnason
Population of ReykjavÝk as of December 1998: Men: 53,146, Women: 55,205, Total: 108,351.
The name literally means "smokey bay". The reason for this is that, when arriving on their ships, the early settlers saw steam (resembling smoke) rising from hot springs near the coast.
ReykjavÝk is the northernmost capital city in the world and receives only 4 hours of sunlight a day in the depth of winter. However, in the summer, the nights are almost as bright as day. Its latitude is 64░ 08' N, not far from the arctic circle at 66░ 33' N.
Some of the best-known neighborhoods of ReykjavÝk are VesturbŠrinn, Ůingholt and Norurmřri.