Iceland’s Hallgrimskirkja – the Church of Hallgrimur

There was still ample light, so I set off to see Reykjavik. Again, I noticed the bus, this time a public transit bus, also provided wifi service.

My first target was the Hallgrimskirkja church (Church of Hallgrimur).

As I walked along the crowded streets of Reykjavik, I noticed something: the sky. Without a blemish, all grey, and it was as if the city was enveloped by a dense, gloomy grey cover.

Hallgrimskirkja Church

Hallgrimskirkja Church

Hallgrimskirkja Church

The Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in the country, and the second tallest civil structure (it is actually the sixth tallest in the country, but the other four are related to military or broadcast facilities).

Named after the Icelandic poet and priest Hallgrimur Petursson, it took almost 50 years for the church to go from the confirmed design stage to completion in 1986.

From the outset, it looks like no other church in terms of external design. State architect Gudjon Samuelsson wanted the church to depict the country’s natural wonders – the glaciers, the flowing volcanic lava and the basalt formations this lava creates when it eventually cools down.

 

Hallgrimskirkja Church Interior

Hallgrimskirkja Church Interior

For all its external grandeur, the church is pretty simple in terms of interior design, except for

the large pipe organ, designed and

Reykjavik From Above

But besides the architectural wonders, it also holds another attraction for visitors: its observation tower. Located about 75 metres above ground level, it gives a perfect view of the city and beyond – its snow-covered peaks and the ocean. While taking a look at the fog-covered city, I also noticed that the sun had managed to pore a hole through the grey cloud cover, and shine a dazzling, high albedo light over a distant peak.

Most of the city itself looked almost designed, with narrow streets and rows of multi-coloured houses shining brightly in the gloomy afternoon.

 

Reykjavik, from Atop the Hallgrimskirkja Church

Reykjavik, from Atop the Hallgrimskirkja Church

What’s more, high rises were a rare sight, with most of the buildings do not seem to be going beyond the third floor. In the distant, Iceland’s iconic Harpo Opera House was visible, near the old harbour.

Reykjavik, from Atop the Hallgrimskirkja Church

Reykjavik, from Atop the Hallgrimskirkja Church

Reykjavik City Airport

Reykjavik City Airport

The city’s airport is also nearby, and I had never seen an aircraft landing so close to roads. I think the landing lights are actually installed on some of the streets leading up to the runway.

Part 1: Short Trip to Iceland, With Long Memories

Part 3: Taking the Golden Circle Trip

More Photos from Reykjavik

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