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Akureyri, Iceland, Europe Cruise

    The town of Akureyri, with its population of approximately 16,000 Inhabitants, is the administrative, transportation and commercial center of North Iceland. The mountains surrounding the fjord, which Akureyri is in the bottom of, is called Eyjafjordur. It is the longest fjord in Iceland, or 60 km, the fjord that all ships have to go through, on the way to Akureyri. Akureyri has provided rural communities in these high latitudes with sundry services as well as educational and industrial facilities. Akureyri has its own theater, symphony orchestra, University and one of the biggest hospitals in the country that serves as well East part of Greenland.
    The Norse Viking Helgi magri (the slim) Eyvindarson originally settled the area in the 9th century. The first mention of Akureyri dates back to 1562 when a woman was sentenced there for adultery. In the 17th century, Danish merchants based their camps on the actual Akureyri, which was one of the numerous spits of land in Pollurinn. The main reasons for choosing this spot for trading operations were the outstanding natural harbour and the fertility of the area. The merchants did not live at Akureyri year round; in winter they locked up their houses and returned home. The town centre of Akureyri.Permanent settlement at Akureyri started in 1778, and eight years later in 1786 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. Industries processing agricultural products became the backbone of the city and spurred its further growth. During World War II, Akureyri was the base of Catalina flying boats from the Norwegian-British No. 330 Squadron RAF, which protected convoys from the United States to the United Kingdom and Murmansk from attack by German submarines. 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 as the manufacturing industries started to decline in the 1990s. 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 Hrísey, an island 35 km to the north, has been a part of Akureyri.

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