Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik


When you think about Iceland, you usually associate it with beautiful views of nature, of an untouched environment and people respecting nature. It is true that this country is one of the highest performers in the world when it comes to environmental protection. However, this is not all that this island on the border of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans has to offer. Among other things, there are some incredible architectural achievements that captivate everyone who visits this country. One of them is certainly the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, which never fails to amaze the people visiting it, regardless of whether they are religious or not.

What does Hallgrimskirkja mean?

Hallgrimskirkja literally means ‘church of Hallgrimur’, and it is dedicated to one of Iceland’s most famous poet and clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson. This Lutheran minister is very famous for writing the ‘Passion Texts’, which is a collection of fifty texts which follow the final days of Christ’s life. This took him three years to write, from 1656 to 1659, and they made him so famous that he had two churches in Iceland named after him, one of which we started talking about.

What does it look like?

The church was designed by one of the most famous and influential Icelandic architects of all time, Guðjón Samúelsson, who was commissioned for this in 1937. He sought to make a building that would mimic the appearance of volcanic lava, once it touches the water and cools down, but also to depict the mountains, rocks, and glaciers that Iceland is well-known for. From an artistic point of view, the style that this building was made in resembles Danish expressionist architecture. The church itself is quite tall, being seventy-four and a half meters tall, it is considered to be one of the tallest buildings in Iceland. It would not have been as tall, had not the church officials wanted a building taller than the tallest Catholic cathedral in Iceland.

How was it built?

Building something this big was definitely not easy. The building process lasted for forty-one years; it started in 1946 and it was completed in 1986. The church also holds an enormous pipe organ, which was made in Germany, and which is fifteen meters tall, weighs twenty-five metric tons, and has over five thousand pipes. In front of the church, there is a statue of Leif Ericson, the first European to set foot in North America, a gift from the United States of America.


Any serious traveler and nature lover should visit Iceland at least once in their lifetime. The landscapes and the people provide a great experience for all who go there. Once you do go, it will be very difficult to miss the Hallgrimskirkja, as you cannot help but see this huge church from almost anywhere in the city. If you are daring, you can also go to the top and enjoy a breathtaking view of Reykjavik. All in all, this is a monument you should definitely pay a visit to.

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