Five Fun Facts about Hallgrimskirkja Church

Posted by on 10 Sep 2018

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik: A Triumph of Icelandic Architecture

If you find yourself in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, there is one iconic landmark that you simply cannot miss: Hallgrimskirkja Church. With its unique design and towering presence, this magnificent structure has become a symbol of Icelandic architecture and a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at the fascinating history, design, and significance of Hallgrimskirkja, as well as provide you with some insider tips for exploring this architectural marvel.


When you first lay eyes on Hallgrimskirkja, you can't help but be awestruck by its grandeur and commanding presence. This architectural masterpiece stands tall at 74.5 meters (244 feet), making it the tallest building in Reykjavik. Designed by State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson, Hallgrimskirkja is a perfect fusion of modern and neo-Gothic architectural styles, with a touch of Icelandic inspiration. Its clean lines, soaring tower, and minimalist aesthetic make it a true gem of Icelandic design.


A Brief History of Hallgrimskirkja

The construction of Hallgrimskirkja began in 1945 and lasted for over 40 years, with the final touches completed in 1986. During its construction, the church faced criticism from some who saw it as an extravagant use of public funds. However, over time, the people of Iceland embraced Hallgrimskirkja as a symbol of national pride and a testament to the country's rich cultural heritage.


The Design and Architecture of Hallgrimskirkja

The design of Hallgrimskirkja is heavily influenced by the unique geological formations found in Iceland. Guðjón Samúelsson drew inspiration from the basalt columns and jagged cliffs that dot the Icelandic landscape, resulting in a structure that resembles a mountain rising from the earth. The church's facade is made of concrete, giving it a sleek and modern appearance.


The Interior of Hallgrimskirkja

As you step inside Hallgrimskirkja, you'll be greeted by a serene and minimalist interior. The high ceilings and abundant natural light create a sense of tranquility, while the simple decor allows the attention to be focused on the main attraction: the towering organ. The organ of Hallgrimskirkja is one of the largest in Europe and is renowned for its exceptional sound quality.

The Tower and the Panoramic Views

One of the highlights of visiting Hallgrimskirkja is the opportunity to climb the tower and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of Reykjavik. From the observation deck, you'll be treated to sweeping vistas of the cityscape, the surrounding mountains, and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of the nearby volcanic peaks.

Hallgrimskirkja as a Cultural Center

In addition to being a place of worship, Hallgrimskirkja also serves as a cultural center for the people of Reykjavik. The church hosts regular concerts featuring both local and international musicians, showcasing the rich musical heritage of Iceland. Visitors can also attend art exhibitions and other cultural events held within the church's walls.

Exploring Hallgrimskirkja and its Surroundings

While Hallgrimskirkja is undoubtedly the main attraction, there is much more to explore in its vicinity. Just a short walk from the church, you'll find Skólavörðuholt Hill, a picturesque area that offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. The nearby streets are filled with charming cafes, boutiques, and art galleries, making it the perfect place to wander and soak in the vibrant energy of Reykjavik.

Insider Tips for Visiting Hallgrimskirkja

  • Timing is key: To avoid crowds and enjoy a more serene experience, try to visit Hallgrimskirkja early in the morning or during the late afternoon.
  • Dress appropriately: As Hallgrimskirkja is a place of worship, it's important to dress modestly and respectfully. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or hats inside the church.
  • Take the elevator: If you're not up for climbing the stairs to the top of the tower, don't worry. There is an elevator that will take you straight to the observation deck, allowing you to enjoy the views without breaking a sweat.
  • Capture the moment: Don't forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views from the tower. The photo opportunities are truly breathtaking.

Hallgrimskirkja in Popular Culture

Over the years, Hallgrimskirkja has made appearances in various forms of popular culture, solidifying its status as an iconic landmark. It has been featured in numerous films, documentaries, and television shows, showcasing its unique design and cultural significance. The church's distinctive silhouette has also inspired artists and photographers from around the world, who seek to capture its beauty and essence.

Visit Hallgrimskirja on a Reykjavik Walking tour with Gray Line Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik is more than just a place of worship; it is a testament to the resilience, creativity, and rich cultural heritage of Iceland. Its awe-inspiring design, panoramic views, and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of this Nordic nation. Whether you are interested in architecture, history, or simply enjoying the stunning views, a visit to Hallgrimskirkja is an experience you won't soon forget.

So, when you find yourself in Reykjavik, don't miss the opportunity to explore this architectural masterpiece and discover the stories it holds within its walls. Embark on a Reykjavik Walking Tour with Gray Line Iceland and let their knowledgeable guides bring the history and beauty of Hallgrimskirkja to life. Experience the magic of Iceland and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Recent articles

Delve into the fascinating history of Keflavik International Airport, from its humble beginnings to its status as a key transportation hub in Iceland. Learn about the airport's growth and development over the years, and how it has shaped the country's tourism industry.

Discover essential tips and recommendations for navigating Keflavik International Airport. Plan your trip with Gray Line's comprehensive airport guide.

Visiting Reykjavik for a Northern Lights Tour

Book your Northern Lights tour in Reykjavik with Gray Line Iceland for an unforgettable experience. Witness the magical phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis in the beautiful Icelandic landscape.