Reykjavik … Hallgrímskirkja: views, pews and arguably the only place in town worth taking a selfie or two in front of

A central place of worship is usually a prized tourist attraction in any European capital. In Reykjavik, its central place of worship is arguably its only tourist attraction… but what an attraction it is.

The world’s most northerly capital city is unquestionably charming, but admittedly it has little in the way of landmarks for tourists to remember it by. Those that see Reykjavik’s Hallgrímskirkja however, will not forget it in a hurry. The church’s seventy-three metre high tower standing in the middle of an otherwise architecturally flat city is hard to miss, yet it’s the building’s shape and unique exterior that makes the Hallgrímur church truly stand out. Does it represent a huge bishop’s mitre, a Viking’s spear or a spiky phallic totem? Few seem to know and most tourists don’t seem to care, satisfied enough with having found somewhere iconic in Iceland’s capital worth taking that obligatory selfie in front of.

Reykjavik as seen from the air with its imposing Hallgrímskirkja at its centre

Reykjavik as seen from the air with its imposing Hallgrímskirkja at its centre

Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja, front night spire

Who would have thought concrete could look so beautiful. The Hallgrímskirkja by night

Who would have thought concrete could look so beautiful. The Hallgrímskirkja by night

The stepped effect makes the church look like an open-air auditorium from certain angles (actually, this shot was taken looking straight up from the church entrance)

The stepped effect makes the church look like an open-air auditorium from certain angles (actually, this shot was taken looking straight up from the church entrance)

The church's only stain-glass window and only ornate detail

The church’s only stain-glass window and only ornate detail

In keeping with traditional Lutheran architecture the church's interior is simplistic and, in contract to its striking exterior, is very plain

In keeping with traditional Lutheran architecture the church’s interior is simplistic and, in contract to its striking exterior, is very plain

The organ is made up of over 5,000 pipes. In 2015, visitors could actually 'purchase' individual pipes from the church's gift shop. Their patronage goes towards the upkeep of the instrument. In return, they receive a pipe deed certifying their ownership of their pipe... but obviously they can't take their pipe home with them

The organ is made up of over 5,000 pipes. In 2015, visitors could actually ‘purchase’ individual pipes from the church’s gift shop. Their patronage goes towards the upkeep of the instrument. In return, they receive a pipe deed certifying their ownership of their pipe… but obviously they can’t take their pipe home with them

When visiting one's organ pipe, a patron can also enjoy this view of the church from the organist's chair

When visiting one’s organ pipe, a patron can also enjoy this view of the church from the organist’s chair

 

Useful information

The church is open daily to visitors from 9am until 9pm. Entrance is free.

Visitors can also climb the church’s tower for stunning panoramic views across the city. The fee (2016) is ISK 900 (around £5) with concessions for children. Tickets can be bought from the church’s gift shop just inside the church building. Opening hours are shorter during the winter months and the tower is closed completely during masses and religious ceremonies.

More details on opening times, ticket prices, the history of the church and how to purchase an organ pipe can be found on the official Hallgrímskirkja website here.

The church once more with the statue of the Icelandic Viking Leifur Eiriksson, the true first European to discover America... evidently very pleased with his discovery

The church once more with the statue of the Icelandic Viking Leifur Eiriksson, the true first European to discover America… evidently very pleased with his discovery

TLT x


Reykjavik, Icelandic winter sunrisethe Golden Circle and that penis museum

 

 

 

 


More 'foreigners' freely crossing from Europe (left) to North America (right)

Entering North America without a passport or valid visa via Iceland’s Bridge Between Two Continents 

 

 

 


According to the museum, this is a merman's penis caught in an Icelandic fishing net in 1879

Trying not to dismiss Icelandic myths and the Icelandic Phallological Museum as a load of old balls

 


 

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