9 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ICELAND
1. Icelandic language has been relatively unchanged for the last 1000 years.
Modern inhabitants of Iceland speak a language almost identical to that spoken by the country’s original Viking settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries.
2. There are 130 volcanic mountains in the roughly 40,000 square miles that make up Iceland.
18 of them have erupted in the last 1000 years, and the largest one covers nearly 8% of the country’s surface.
3. Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city.
Iceland is so far north of the equator that the country experiences nearly continuous daylight during the summer months of June and July.
4. Surveys have shown that nearly 80% of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves.
The elves are thought to have magical powers, and special “elf negotiators” are sometimes brought in when construction is to take place in an area believed to be inhabited by the creatures.
5. Icelanders love movies.
They watch more films, per capita, than the people of any other country in the world.
6. Iceland is one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world.
70% of the energy used by Icelanders is produced by the country’s natural geothermal and hydroelectric resources.
7. Iceland’s main industry is fishing.
In fact, the usually peaceful nation entered into a series of confrontations with the United Kingdom in the 1950’s and 1970’s when the British refused to acknowledge an “exclusive fishery zone” that Iceland had instituted in the waters off its coast.
8. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe.
Roughly 322,000 people call the island nation home.
9. One of Iceland’s traditional foods is called hakarl.
It’s a dish of rotting and fermented shark meat.
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