Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrim's Church) in Reykjavik is the tallest and most striking church in Iceland.
A Lutheran parish church, Hallgrimskirkja is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-74), author of the Passíusálmar and other works. He was one of the most influential pastors during the Age of Orthodoxy and made major contributions to Lutheran hymnody.
The modern Nordic design of Hallgrimskirkja is the work of State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson, who also designed the Landakotskirkja in Reykjavik and the Akureyrarkirkju in Akureyri. The church took 38 years to build (1945-86), the landmark tower being completed long before the church's actual completion.
At 74.5 metres (244 ft), Hallgrimskirkja is the tallest building in Iceland. It is situated in the city center and has become one of Reykjavík's best known symbols.
The cathedral has a stylized concrete facade inspired by the distinctive basalt formations found throughout Iceland. Inside, Hallgrimskirkja houses a huge pipe organ (1992) by the German organbuilder Klais and an eighth-floor bell tower with some of the city's best views. Access to the observation deck is via elevator.
The statue in front of the church is of Leif Eríkson, an Icelandic/Norwegian explorer and the first European thought to have landed in North America. The monument was a gift from the United States for the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, which marked the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament.
Domkirkjan is a small and charming Lutheran church of historical importance in Reykjavik.
A place of worship has existed on this site since 1200 AD. The current church was completed in 1796 and has since played an important role in Icelandic history. It was here that sovereignty and independence were first blessed and endorsed by the church, and where Iceland's national anthem (actually a hymn) was first sung in 1874. Since 1845, members and cabinet ministers of every Alþing parliament have gathered here for a service before the annual session.
Among the notable sights inside the church is a baptismal font carved and donated by the famous 19th-century master sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, who was half Icelandic.
Type of site: Lutheran church
Dates: Built 1788-96
Location: Austurvöllur, Reykjavík, Iceland
Landakotskirkja (Landakot Church), formally named Basilika Krists konungs (Basilica of Christ the King) in Reykjavik is the Catholic cathedral of Iceland. It is often referred to as Kristskirkja (Christ's Church).
The first Catholic priests to arrive in Iceland after the Reformation were the frenchmen Bernard Bernard and Jean-Baptiste Baudoin. They bought the Landakot farmstead in Reykjavík in the early 19th century and built a small chapel there in 1864. A few years later, a small wooden church was erected by Túngata, close to Landakot.
After the First World War, the number of Icelandic Catholics was growing and there was a need to build a bigger church. They decided to build a Neo-Gothic church and entrusted the task to the modernist architect Guðjón Samúelsson (who also designed the Hallgrimskirkja). After years of construction, Landakotskirkja was finally consecrated on July 23, 1929. It was the largest church in Iceland at the time.
Today, Landakotskirkja remains a distinct landmark in western Reykjavík. It has a distinctively flat top in place of the standard spire. Because of the community's request for a Neo-Gothic church, it is more conservative in style than Samuelsson's other creations but still has glacier-inspired lines. On the grounds is the only Catholic school in Iceland, Landakotsskóli