Close to the North Circle, Iceland is one of the 5 Nordic countries, together with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Formed by oceanic volcanic eruption, Iceland straddles the North Atlantic Ocean, connecting North America and the European continent. This strategic geographical position is increasingly apparent in the discussion about the Northern Routes for international maritime transportation. 

Area:       103,000 km2, equivalent to the size of Zhejiang or Jiangsu province of China.
 
Capital:    Reykjavík, the most Northern capital well-known as the "Smokeless City".
 
Terrain:    A land shaped by volcanic activities, glaciers and ocean, with unique landscape all over the country,  characterized by flat mountains, glaciers, clean lakes, black sands and deeply indented fjords.

Climate:   Temperate; moderated by Gulf stream. There are mild, windy winters and damp, cool summers. Average temperature in recent years in Reykjavík is about 1°C in January and 11°C in July.