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Akureyri

Country
Iceland
State
Akureyri
City
Akureyri
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Akureyri is a city in northern Iceland.Nicknamed "the Capital of North Iceland," Akureyri is an important port and fisheries centre, with a population of 17,304.It is Iceland's second largest urban area (after the Greater Reykjavik area) and fourth largest municipality (after Reykjavik,Hafnarfjorour, and Kopavogur).The area where Akureyri is located was settled in the 9th century but did not receive a municipal charter until 1786.The city was the site of Allied units during World War II.Further growth occurred after the war as the Icelandic population increasingly moved to urban areas.

The area has a relatively warm climate due to geographical factors,and the city's ice-free harbor has played a significant role in its history.Permanent settlement at Akureyri started in 1778,and eight years later, the town was granted its municipal charter by the king of Denmark (and at the time Iceland also) along with five other towns in Iceland.The king hoped to improve the living conditions of Icelanders by this action because at the time, Iceland had never had urban areas. As far as the king was concerned Akureyri was unsuccessful, because it did not grow from its population of 12.It lost its municipal status in 1836 but regained it in 1862.From then on Akureyri started to grow because of the excellent port conditions and perhaps more because of the productive agricultural region around it. Agricultural products became an important sector of the economy.

In the 20th century, Iceland experienced a mass exodus from the countryside to the towns. Commerce and service industries grew to be the primary employers in Akureyri in the 1990s.Jon Sveinsson, a popular author of children's books, was born in Akureyri and died in 1944.In the early 21st century, fishing industries have become more important in Akureyri as two of the major fishing companies of Iceland have become a more important source of revenue and are expected to grow further in coming years.The University of Akureyri was founded in 1987 and is growing rapidly. Akureyri is also the home of RES-The School for Renewable Energy Science.

Since 2004, the former municipality of Hrisey, an island 35 km to the north, has been a part of Akureyri.Hrisey, which has a population of 210, is the second largest island off Iceland and is a site for pet and livestock quarantine.The settlement was previously the site of fishing processing.The town is located on the southern part of the island.The northern part consists on privately owned land that requires passes to enter.It is surrounded by mountains, the highest being Kista (1447 metres) and another peak of 1538 metres at the head of Gleradalur.There is a narrow coastal strip of flat land; inland is a steep but low hill.In earlier times a few spits of land (Icelandic eyri, thus Akur-eyri) jutted from the narrow coast, but a lot of land has since been reclaimed from the sea so that today the coastline is more even except for the largest, Oddeyri, which was formed by the river Glera which runs through the town.It is thought that the name of the city is derived possibly from the name of a field which may have been situated near some of the sheltered locations by the river.



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How to Reach

By Air

Akureyri Airport, one of four international airports in Iceland and the only international airport in the north of the country,was constructed in 1955 replacing the airstrip at Melgerdismelar further to the south.The current airport is mostly used for domestic flights, with seasonal scheduled international flights.Air Iceland flies several times a day to Reykjavik,and there are also flights to Grimsey, Vopnafjorour and Þorshofn.Since 2006,Iceland Express has operated scheduled flights from Akureyri to Copenhagen during the summer.In 2007,Akureyri Airport had a passenger traffic level of 221,200 and 19,778 aircraft movements.

By Bus

SBA-Norourleio (Icelandic Bus Company - northern route) is an Akureyri-based company that provides a bus service to the city.Local bus services within Akureyri are provided by the SVA (Akureyri Bus Company), which does not charge fares.The cessation of fares in 2008 resulted in an increase of 130% in passenger numbers compared to the previous year when fares were charged.

By Road

Route 1 or the Ring Road (Þjoovegur 1 or Hringvegur) connects the city with the other parts of the country, including Reykjavik, which is 390 km away.The road is mostly one lane in each direction, but is paved and open year round.There are no paved roads from Akureyri to the unpopulated interior of the island.However, the F821 mountain road is open in summer: it climbs southwards from Akureyri and connects with the F26 mountain road across the interior to the SW of the country.Parking in the central area requires use of a parking disc indicating the time that parking has commenced.Parking is free but is limited in certain areas to a maximum period ranging from 15 minutes to 2 hours.

By Cruise

The port of Akureyri is vital to the town, which largely bases its livelihood on fisheries.It is the site of large fish processing plants and has docking facilities for trawlers.It is also important for freight handling and for tourism, as cruise ships stop in Akureyri during the summer monthsThe ice-free nature of the port has been important in the city's establishment.

Key places to visit
Akureyri Art Museum, Hlioarfjall, Akureyrarkirkja, Glera River, Akureyri Golf Club, Hrisey, Grimsey Island, Gasir Medival Trading Place


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Places to Visit

Akureyri Art Museum

Was founded in 1993.It is the only art museum in Iceland located outside of the Greater Reykjavik Area.The museum is located in the center of Akureyri, the second-largest city in Iceland.Originally home to a dairy, the building which houses the gallery is noted as a good example of the Bauhaus school of architecture.Artists that have had their work displayed in the Akureyri Art Museum include Icelandic artists Erro,Kjarval and Louisa Matthiasdottir, American artist Spencer Tunick and French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.The museum has been host to the Icelandic Visual Arts Awards since 2006, when they were first given.

Akureyrarkirkja

Is a prominent Lutheran church in Akureyri,northern Iceland.Located in the centre of the city, and towering above the city on a hill,it was designed by Guojon Samuelsson, and completed in 1940.Akureyrarkirkja contains a notably large 3200-pipe organ, a unique interpretation of the crucifixion and a suspended ship hanging from the ceiling which reflects an old Nordic tradition of giving offerings for the protection of loved ones at sea.The opaque central window in the chancel, once belonged to Coventry Cathedral in England.

Hlioarfjall

Is a mountain located west of the Icelandic town Akureyri in Eyjafjorour.It is the site of one of two major ski resorts in Iceland.The former hotel no longer offers accommodation and is now mostly used for meetings.Hlioarfjall is generally considered to be named after Logmannshlio,a (formerly important) homestead and church site on the slopes of the mountain (the word hlio having the meaning "slope").

Glera River

Is a river in northern Iceland. It originates from glaciers in the mountains of Trollaskagi peninsula and also draws water from some fresh water springs on its way down Glera Valley.It runs through the town of Akureyri before it flows into the sea in Eyjafjorour.The river formed the sandbank of Oddeyri where it enters the sea.The river was important in the dawn of the industrial age in Akureyri when it was dammed and used to produce electricity in the 20th century.The original power station has been demolished now but the dam remains. A new power station has been built to commemorate 100 years of hydroelectric power in Iceland.This 290 kW (rated capacity) power station was opened on August 27th 2005.

Akureyri Golf Club

The Golf Club Akureyri was extablished in 1935. The golf Course "Jaoarsvollur" is 18 holes, par 36/35 and has excellent facilities.Artic Open is probably the most renowned tournaments held in Iceland during summer solstice. First held in 1986, this four-day championship event, open to international professional and amateur golfers, takes place at the Akureyri Golf Club, the most northerly 18-hole golf course in the world, beneath snow-capped mountains in the far north of Iceland, and the midnight sun.

Hrisey

Is a peaceful island in the middle of Eyjafjorour,it is the second largest island in Iceland, after Heimaey in the south.The island is a well known paradise for bird watchers and the most abundant of all birds on the island is the ptarmigan.About 40 species of bird nest on the island.The northern part of Hrisey, is a privately owned nature reserve.Permission must be obtained from the landowner if you wish to pass through this area.We recommend a walk along one of the 3 marked routes ranging from 2.3 km to 5 km (the routs take about 1 hour to 2.5 hours easy walk) or simply stroll through the village and visit the local museum or handicraft store. If you get hungry, visit the restaurant or the village's local store.

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