Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran Church of Iceland parish church in Reykjavík. At 244-foot high, it is the largest church and among the tallest structures in Iceland. It is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), author of the Passion Hymns. Expressionist architect Guðjón Samúelsson is said to have designed it to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape.

Situated in the centre of Reykjavík, it is one of the city’s best-known landmarks. It took 41 years to build, from 1945 to 1986, with the landmark tower being completed long before the rest. The crypt was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings in 1974, and the nave in 1986. The leaders of the Church of Iceland wanted a large spire so as to outshine the Landakotskirkja, the city’s Catholic cathedral. Because of its height, the church is also used as an observation tower to view the city and surrounding mountains.

The church also houses a large pipe organ containing 102 ranks, 72 stops and 5275 pipes. It is 49 feet tall and weighs 25 metric tons. The statue in front of the church of explorer Leif Eriksson (above) is by Alexander Stirling Calder, the father of famed organic sculptor Alexander Calder. It was a gifted by the U.S. in 1930 on the 1000th anniversary of Iceland’s parliament at Þingvellir.

  • Visited: Jul 2012

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