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“Wonderful, tranquil church” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Svalbard Kirke

Svalbard Kirke
Longyearbyen 9171, Norway
+47(0)79025560
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Ranked #9 of 15 Attractions in Longyearbyen
Type: Churches/ Cathedrals, Cultural
Attraction details
England
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
“Wonderful, tranquil church”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

As I was in Longyearbyen over Christmas, it seemed somewhat appropriate to visit this church.

It stands up on the hillside on one side of the town and is about a 20 minute walk although, as with the previous review, the snow & cold weather added a bit of time to the journey in late December. The effort was worth it however; firstly for the wonderful views down into the town and over to the mountains all around, just visible through the polar night.

Inside there is a small reception area to leave your coat and take off your shoes, replacing them with crocs that are provided. The church itself is then up a short flight of stairs and I'm fairly sure that there is a disabled lift for accessibility.

Upstairs the church itself is at one end of a long narrow room, the other half of which resembles a cafe with a number of tables & chairs. This immediately conveys not only the sense of community that is strong here but also the role of the church at the heart of the community - this church effectively serves the whole island across all denominations.

With this in mind, it was a very pleasant surprise to see the beautifully detailed Christian altarpiece with its iconography. There is a box of candles to the right of the altar if you want to light one and offer intercession prayers.

Several other reviewers have commented on the volunteers who man the 'cafe' area for visitors, providing coffee & cake. Unfortunately when I was here it was empty but there was a kettle and tea/coffee/whitener & cups on a table, so I could have made myself a hot drink had I so desired, before heading back out into the cold weather.

There is also a small selection of gifts, such as pens, books and postcards that can be purchased in return for a donation to the church.

With religious attendances in the UK on the wane, it is interesting to see how this church has adapted to become a meeting place for locals: the concept of religion bringing people together as opposed to driving them apart is something that has the potential to do so much good.

It was also lovely to be able to take a few minutes of quiet contemplation, in such a magical environment and at Christmas. Not a TV advert for a PS4 or 'up 50% sale' in sight...oh, the world could be such a better place.

If you are in Longyearbyen, try and make the effort to come here, as it is worth it.

Visited December 2013
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58 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Very moving little church”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

I found this in the depths of December and battled through the virgin snow. It was completely empty. The church has a lovely little altar and, though not religious, I sat and contemplated the silence for some time. Well worth the visit especially as it requires a walk from the site of most hotels.

Visited December 2013
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London, England
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“ A peaceful retreat ”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

A lovely warm little place that welcomes everybody. A great little retreat from the cold. Take a book, have a hot drink, maybe something to eat and relax in the peacefulness.

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Copenhagen, Denmark
Top Contributor
223 reviews 223 reviews
122 attraction reviews
Reviews in 115 cities Reviews in 115 cities
377 helpful votes 377 helpful votes
“a gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

well churches are much more than a church- this is a place where people congregate, share meals and celebrate. Beautiful indeed

Visited August 2013
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Liverpool
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“friendly and informative”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

Warm and beautiful building with fabulous art work on the walls. Coffee bar area with comfy seats for a nice warming coffee. The youth worker was there to greet us and tell us about the church and the amazing work done there.

Visited August 2013
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