Hallgrimskirkja: View From The Top of Reykjavik’s Beautiful Church

Hallgrimskirkja reminds me of a space rocket. Find out the design inspiration, history and more below!

Is it worth going up the Hallgrimskirkja tower?

Definitely. At (244 ft) high, it is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in the country so you’re bound to get the best of Reykjavik. At only 1000ISK (£5.50) for admission you can see colourful houses, the sea and the island of Videy from the top of the church tower (which can be reached by elevator, thankfully).

Do you need to book in advance to visit Hallgrimskirkja?

We walked right into Hallgrimskirkja. But this is probably different when there is a service of course.

What’s the best way to see Hallgrimskirkja?

With any landmark view from the top, recommended going during sunset so you can photograph day and night. I went in the evening, but it was June so it’s broad daylight!
So the best time will widely vary depending on the season you visit Hallgrímskirkja. Check the predicted sunset time in Reykjavik before you go.

Who is the statue outside of Hallgrímskirkja?

One of the most famous statues in Reykjavik is the imposing Leifur Eiríksson in front of Hallgrímskirkja, at the end of Skólavörðustígur street. Eiríksson was best known as a hero of Viking age.

He was the first European to arrive in America in the year 1000, preceding Christopher Columbus by roughly half a millennia. It was actually a gift from the United States.

When was the Hallgrimskirkja built?

Hallgrimskirkja was first commissioned in 1937. But construction only started in 1945. it took 41 years before it was completed in 1986. The tower was finished long before this, but the steeple and wings were concluded in 1974 whilst construction of the nave was last. Finally, Hallgrimskirkja opened just in time for the 200-year anniversary of Reykjavík.

Who designed Hallgrimskirkja?

Hallgrimskirkja’s architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, intended to mirror Iceland’s landscape; trap rocks, mountains and glaciers which I think you’ll agree succeeds. Guðjón Samúelsson died in 1950 so never saw the finished construction of Hallgrimskirkja.

What is Hallgrimskirkja made of?

You might be fooled into thinking Hallgrimskirkja is made from natural material which looks very similar to Icelandic landscape. But Hallgrimskirkja is actually built from concrete, the pristine white look is actually a rough coating cast of white granite.

What religion is Hallgrimskirkja? What is Hallgrimskirkja named after?

Hallgrimskirkja is a Lutheran church. The church is named after the 17th-century clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson and made significant contributions to Lutheran hymnody.

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