This small square in downtown Reykjavik has been a public gathering place since 1930. During warm, sunny weather Austurvollur becomes particularly lively as the outdoor cafes lining the square fill up with thirsty Icelanders and visiting travelers. In December a Christmas tree arrives, a gift from fellow Scandinavians in Oslo.
There is a statue in the center of the square of Jon Sigurdsson, the leader of Iceland’s independence movement. Iceland’s Independence Day is held on June 17th, Jon Sigurdsson’s birthday, and morning ceremonies in Reykjavik begin in Austurvollur square.
Many landmarks important to the city's cultural history line the square including the Parliament building, the city's oldest church Domkirkjan, Hotel Borg and concert venue Nasa.
The square played a huge role in the protests that followed in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis in 2008. Protester had been gathering all weekends since october 2008 with their pots, pans and other kitchenware (and were abtly named the Kitchenware implement or Pots-and-pan revolution), and protested against the government's handling of the crisis. On January 20 2009 the protests intensified with thousands of people showing up, demanding the resignation of the government. Once the government resigned the protests for the most part stopped.