Iceland has a lot more to it than what just meets the eyes. It is the second largest country in the European continent. It is also the youngest and the last-settled country in Europe. Iceland is a land of contraries. You can find glaciers and volcanoes, hot springs and extensive lava, sandy deserts and rich vegetation.
Many parts of the land are not habitable. The entire landscape is rugged and wild. Contrary to belief that the winters in Iceland are severe, it is not so. The temperature during the daytime in the winter season is about 31°F. Apart from all this, a recent survey stated that the people in Iceland are considered to lead satisfactory lives overall, in comparison to other European states. With this, I will make you familiar with the basic facts about this country.
The country has more than 323,000 people and about 150,000 people live in the capital. The remaining population is settled in the coastal areas. The population growth rate is only 0.26%. Most of the interior part of the country is not suitable for living. The average lifespan of Icelanders is 80 years.
The climate is moderate around the year and the Gulf Stream keeps the country warm. Due to the moderate influence of Gulf stream, the summers are damp and cool, while winters are relatively windy.
The country is a hot spot of volcanoes out of which 30 have erupted in the past two centuries. These volcanoes provide geothermal power to the country. The rivers of the country are used productively to get cheap hydroelectric power. The natural hot water rivers supply the country with pollution-free heating.
In the early 9th century, the Nordic people migrated and settled in the country. Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking is the first person to settle in the capital. So, the people follow the language of the Vikings and the language has been improved by many civilizations. The people of the island use patronymics instead of surnames. Hence, members of the same family have different surnames, which are confusing to the foreigners.
Culture and Heritage
The people of Iceland follow ancient heritage along with modern innovations. They live in perfect harmony. The country has many artists who are experts in singing and music compositions. Many festivals are celebrated at different times, and theme exhibitions are often conducted. The country serves supreme cuisines that provide seafood delicacies.
Iceland is the country which has one of the world's first Republican government. Now the country is ruled by The Parliament, called Althing, which has 63 members. These members are elected every four years. The head of the state in the country has no influence in the day-to-day politics.
The country's economy greatly depends on fishing. Therefore, most of the people are involved in the fishing business. Apart from fishing, export is the another flourishing industry of the country. The country finds most of its money by exporting seafood. It is a recognized member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Iceland has beautiful landscape and various activities to offer which often attracts tourists from different parts of the world. Some of them include whale watching, bird watching, hiking, horse riding, skiing, cycling, fishing, kayaking and glacier tours. The country's scenic beauty is a treat to one's eyes. The warm climate of the country makes the visit possible in every season.
The Animals of Iceland
There aren't many animals found in Iceland, but, there are some who stand out. The Iceland horse and the fox can never go unnoticed as they are the pure breeds. For centuries, the horse had been the form of transportation for Icelanders. The fox in Iceland is a breed of Arctic fox, and is famous for its thick and strong fur. Apart from this, some beautiful species of birds can be found in Iceland; puffin being the most popular one.
Other Interesting Trivia
- Iceland being a Latin word, the letters in the word do not feature in Modern English.
- Known for its geothermal pools, this country boasts of 170 of them! The Stryta in Eyjafjordur in Iceland is the only geothermal cone in the world where you can go for scuba diving.
- Iceland is also known to be the home of Björk, a world-renowned pop star who is known for her eclectic song compositions.
- The literacy rate of Iceland, one of the highest rates found in this world is estimated at 99.9%.
- The life expectancy of men is 79.5 years and that of women is 83.5 years; comparatively lower than other countries.
The above facts definitely make Iceland one of the favorite tourist destinations. Thus, Iceland is a place where one can look for a perfect way to rejuvenate.