Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Húsavík, an Icelandic pearl

With a population of over 2500, Húsavík is the main town of Northeast Iceland. It has a picturesque harbour and snow capped peaks, and seeing whales during the season is almost certain.

Location : 66°03′ N, 17°19′ W

Being located near the Arctic Circle, the town of Húsavík enjoys 24 hours daylight in summer, and the midnight sun often gives the sky a unbelievably beautiful glow. In the winter when the nights are long the night sky is frequently decorated with the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and stars.

Whilst the main industries in Húsavík are fishing and fish processing, Húsavík has become a centre of whale watching in the north due to whales of different species that frequently enter the bay.

Húsavík is small but has almost all services including banks and a post office as well as a good choice of cafés and restaurants, set around the harbour.

Salka restaurant is located by the main street, housed in the renovated store building of Iceland's first coop founded in 1882 by farmers in the district.

Down by the harbor is Gamli Baukur restaurant, which is a replica of a 19th century house.

Gamli Baukur goes as far as 1843 when the original house was built, not far from where it is today. Back then it was built as a residence for the district magistrate.

The present Gamli Baukur was built in the years 1997-1999 by the harbour in Húsavík. The house is built of driftwood found on the coastline around the town.

It was built in the form of a cross with wood imported from Norway, and consecrated in 1907. The artist Freymodur Johannesson painted and decorated the church’s interior in 1924.

Sveinn Thorarinsson painted a depiction of Lazarus’ resurrection for the altar in 1930-31. The organ was consecrated on November 1964. Sculptor Johann Bjornsson from Húsavík carved the baptismal font and other wood carvings in the church.
Nearby Húsavík is the Jokulsargljufar National Park. Iceland's second largest river runs through the park and also flows through the massive Jokulsargljufur, a canyon which is 120 meters deep and 500 meters wide in places, forming several exceptional waterfalls and rock formations

Dettifoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur