Saturday, July 2, 2016

Reykjavik, Iceland: Hallgrimskirkja

We start the tour of Iceland, appropriately, with one of the most photographed places in the country. Hammgrimskirkja is a church in Reykjavik, sitting majestically on top of a hill.

It was designed by Rev. Hallgrimur Petursson, who wrote hymns and was a distinguished scholar. The building's designer Guojon Samuelsson, never lived long enough to see the building completed. He died in 1950; the building's construction began in 1945 and stopped in 1994.

The church has a huge pipe organ inside; it must be very impressive. The seats can be turned around, depending on the building's use at a given time. When we were there in midweek, half of the seats were pointed at the altar and the other half viewed the organ end.

Just above the clock, you can see three windows in the picture. That's an observation desk with some good views of the city. There's a fee for the cramped elevator ride up to the top.

Visitors are greeted by a statue of Leif Eiriksson. This structure was a gift by the United States to Iceland, in recognition of the 1,000th anniversary of Iceland's Parliament. It's also something of a nod to Eiriksson, who beat Columbus to the New World by a few hundred years. Yet it's Columbus who gets the national holiday in America.

What's the view like from the top? Like this:

For an essay on all of Iceland, click here.
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