Tórshavn is one of the smallest capitals in the world with a population of approx. 15,000. The former municipality of Hoyvík on the picturesque north side of Tórshavn has been incorporated into Thórshavn. A mere half-century ago Tórshavn could only have been considered as a big village, however since that time Tórshavn has changed tremendously. The population has nearly doubled since 1960. The whole of the centre, with the exception of the old Þinganes area, has been modernized and large modern buildings such as schools, colleges, a university, a number of sport facilities, and the SMS shopping mall, a gigantic project by Faroese standards have emerged. In spite of the huge growth and development the Faroes have been through the past two decades, some things remain untouched by modernization, for instance the House of Parliament, a peculiarly unassuming narrow old building from the previous century.
Some 250 large and medium-size trading and manufacturing companies are based in Tórshavn, and a sizable industrial centre has been developed in the north-eastern part of the city.
As a national capital, Tórshavn is the centre of cultural activities in the Faroes. It is home to national art galleries and libraries, and also the Nordic House, which has become a cultural centre of great significance for the Faroese people. Designed by architects Ola Steen of Norway and Kolbrún Ragnarsdóttir of Iceland, the Nordic House is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of modern Nordic architecture, and regularly hosts art festivals and serves as a forum for Faroese and inter-Nordic cultural activities. Faroese State Radio, and the Television Service that was only established in 1984, are also located in Tórshavn, and no less than 4 newspapers and several magazines are published in the capital.
In 1927 a harbour was built in Tórshavn. Today it has a quayage of 1,630 metres for larger vessels plus additional quay berths for smaller boats. The harbour is the centre of activity in the city. Approx. 3,900 ships call at Tórshavn annually, discharging up to 151,000 tons of goods and loading up to 53,000 tons.
Hotels in Thorshavn, Faroe Islands
The Faroese National Day is celebrated on St. Ólav's Day, 29th July, with the Ólavsvaka midsummer festival, in which virtually everyone in the capital takes part. People from all over the country, Faroese who live abroad and foreign guests flock to the capital, parliament convenes and the traditional Faroese chain dance reigns supreme on the streets of the city.
Tórshavn today is a fascinating mixture of old and new. Rapid development and bustling activity create problems familiar in every fast growing city.
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