General Information About Iceland

According to 800zipcodes, Iceland is one of the most unusual, amazing, even unique countries in the world. The Icelandic language belongs to the Scandinavian language group, but unlike its “brothers” Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, it has changed little since the time of the Vikings. In addition, he practically does not assimilate foreign words, and any Icelander easily reads medieval Icelandic sagas.


Iceland is an island state located at such high latitudes and so far from the Eurasian continent that Western geographers refer to it as part of America (as part of the world). Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, 300 km east of Greenland and 100 km west of Norway. The predominant relief of this country is volcanic plateaus with peaks up to 2 km. The whole of Iceland is covered with numerous active volcanoes (Hekla, Laki), geysers, hot springs, and the coast is heavily indented by fjords. The total area of ​​the island is 103 thousand km 2 , of which 11.8 thousand km 2 is covered with glaciers. The population is about 272.5 thousand people, mostly Icelanders – descendants of the Irish and Norwegians, and almost half of them live in Reykjavik.


The first settlements of the Norwegian Vikings in Iceland date back to 870-930 AD. Today, Icelanders are proud to have preserved the ancient Viking language. But they do not live in the past at all. Ancient traditions coexist in harmony with the art and culture of contemporary Iceland. And although the country is geographically removed from the main world crossroads, Icelanders are at the very center of international relations. The name of Iceland was given by a certain Floki Filgervarson, who at the end of the 9th century stopped here for the winter. That year there were terrible frosts in Iceland, and even in the spring, when the forced guest of the island decided to go home, the fjords remained covered with snow. Seeing this, Floki awarded the land that sheltered him with the harsh epithet Iceland – “the land of ice”. In fact, Iceland is washed by a warm current and icebergs are a rather rare occurrence in its waters, and, although this country has large glaciers, its name (“Ice Country”) is still more suitable for neighboring Greenland. But the most fascinating sight, for which every summer thousands of tourists rush here, is the peaceful neighborhood of the water element with the element of fire. Almost all types of volcanoes can be found on the island. And the beauty and power of waterfalls and geysers (Iceland’s calling card) is literally mesmerizing.


Iceland has a subarctic maritime climate. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate is much milder than one would expect, but very windy. A strong fresh wind blows almost constantly. July and August are the warmest months of the year. The average temperature in August is +10 o C, and in January -1 o C. In Reykjavik, the average temperature in January is about 0 o C, in July +11 o C, it is colder in the mountains. Precipitation is 500-4000 mm per year. Throughout the summer in Iceland, “white nights”, on June 21, the sun rises at 02:54 and sets at 24:02. December, unlike June, is the darkest month – daylight hours last no more than 5 hours.


Iceland lives on Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year and does not switch to daylight saving time. Difference with Moscow time -3 hours.


The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik. It got its name, which means “bay of smokes” in Icelandic, because of the steam of hot springs located in its vicinity. Half of the country’s population lives here – 180 thousand people. Reykjavik is a city in which you will not find squares, their role is played by parking lots, which are traditionally huge – most Icelanders drive jeeps or “big feet”, and they drive them in the city itself, which from this begins to resemble the northern prairie, Mexico in the snow There is a seafront promenade the size of a highway, a port where cruise ships come from the “mainland” and a legible grid of narrow “village” streets.

Reykjavik is a very old city. Its foundation is attributed to the year of the discovery of Iceland itself. The Old Norse sagas tell that Reykjavik was founded on the site where the first permanent settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, built his dwelling in 874. For a long time, this settlement was a simple fishing village in which the Danes lived. But there are no historical monuments left here. Stone defensive fortresses were not built initially – no one would have sailed to this end of the world.


In Iceland, the official church is the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which 92.2% of the country’s population belongs.

General Information About Iceland