day 7: hallgrimskirkja church

kristur er öflugur, en öflugri er örlög. – “christ is powerful, but more powerful is destiny.”

– hallgrimskirkja church and norse explorer leifur eriksson make a good combo –

take your worries to the church and leave them there, that’s what some say.

i say, take a short walk to reykjavik’s most famous landmark and snap some great top shots of the city at its tower.

hallgrimskirkja church is unlike its compatriot, frikirkjan church in that the former was recently built (it’s 40+ years old), has an imposing facade and occupies prime real estate in the city. it sits comfortably at the top of reykjavik’s art, design and shopping lane skolavordustigur and it is iceland’s largest and tallest house of worship.

– a silent guardian and a church protect the city of reykjavik –

the main tower which greets you at the bottom of skolavordustigur isn’t like any church you’ve seen. in fact, it looks like something out of the capitol from the  ‘the hunger games’  novels – grey and bland with minimalistic sensibilities and very little fuss in its finishing details.

you could even say it emanates purely dystopian vibes. former state architect, gudjon samuelson was its designer and his philosophy behind hallgrimskirkja’s design was that the church was meant to resemble a volcanic basalt formation.

whatever it is, it’s kind of a cool church. it doesn’t have the inviting warmth and comfort like most other churches but it does make you very curious to find out more.

directly opposite the church is a statue of iceland-born norse explorer, leifur eiriksson, aka ‘leif the lucky’, the first european to discover america around 1,000 A.D. unfortunately his discovery of the continent pretty much went under the radar because he forgot to mention it to anyone else. lucky christopher columbus eh?

i loved the combo of the leifur eriksson statue in front of the church tower as if leifur was the sacred guardian of the church. a most impressive sight indeed, especially when the sun sets behind the statue creating this magical glow around the church. (see first picture above)

after admiring the church’s exterior, nip yourselves over to the back to find the church entrance.

like it’s exterior, there is no dramatic regalia or fuss about anything in its interior deco. everything is clean with simple lines. quite charming really.

– clean minimalistic design dominates the church interior –

– another silent guardian –

then when you’ve soaked up enough ‘me-time’ at the pews, head to the church tower for a spectacular view of reykjavik. of course, you’ll have to pay a token fee of 600 ISK at the church’s souvenir shop but that’s no biggie considering the great pictures you’ll get when you get to the top.

a definite must-see if you’re in town….

hallgrimskirkja church visitor hours:
mondays – sundays: 9am – 5pm except for sunday services@11am.

church tower is open everyday from 9am – 8pm
tower charges: 600ISK (adults)
100ISK (children 7-14 years old)

getting to hallgrimskirkja church


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