Reykjavík's best known landmark is a must see when on vacation in Iceland.
If you are looking for things to do on your vacation in Reykjavík, why not go and visit Hallgrímskirkja Church (The Church of Hallgrímur)? The spire of this Lutheran church is 73 meters high and from there you can enjoy the magnificent view over Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains that lay like sculptures around the Icelandic capital. Yes, it truly gets you closer to heaven.
Reykjavík is a city full of adventures and one of them is visiting Hallgrímskirkja Church which towers over most of the city. A WOW tip: take the Hop on - Hop on bus in Reykjavik, it will stop right next to the church. The church is a grand work of art, a sculpture made of concrete, seen prominently displayed from almost anywhere in the city – and also from far outside the city. It's kind of like the mantlepiece framing the heart of the nation's capital.
Motifs of Icelandic nature
In 1937, the then state architect Guðjón Samúelsson (1887-1950), was commissioned to design the church. The main building of the University of Iceland and the National Theater are other examples of his design work that can be seen in Reykjavik. Samúelsson wanted to create a style of national architecture and at the same time Hallgrímskirkja Church is a great example of expressionist architecture: You can see motifs from the Icelandic nature in the building, such as basalt formations, mountains and icecaps.
It can be said that the church represents an adventurous landscape and the building time was an adventure too, since the church wasn't completed until 1986. But who was this Hallgrímur fellow the church is named after?
Well, Hallgrímur Pétursson was a clergyman born in 1614 who became one of Iceland's most beloved poets. He influenced his countrymen's spiritual development and his Hymns of Passion are still read in his church (and many others) on Good Friday every year.
Pure and simple
In front of the Hallgrímskirkja Church there is a statue of Leif Ericson, or Leif the Lucky, who is believed to be the first European to set foot in America some 500 years before that Columbus guy. The statue was a present from the USA on the 1000th anniversary of the National Assembly, Alþingi, in 1930. Alexander Stirling Calder designed the statue.
Inside the church the architecture is so pure and simple, and yet so grand. Maybe it's OK to talk about an almost white wonder as the church is mainly white inside. There are regular masses you can attend in the church or you can just sit, contemplate and pray. On other occasions you can enjoy one or more of the many concerts that are held there. You can also walk around and enjoy various works of art in the corridors, the big white statue of Christ, the windows and of course the church which is a work of art in itself.
An awesome sound
Hallgrímskirkja Church is the home to a grand pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has mechanical action, four manuals and pedals, 102 ranks, 72 stops, 5,275 pipes and weighs 25 tons. The organ is 15 meters tall, the largest one in Iceland and there are many who have enjoyed its beautiful sound and powerful notes during concerts and religious services.
Before you leave why not take the elevator to the top of the spire, get a little closer to heaven and enjoy a bird's eye view of Reykjavik.