Hallgrímskirkja is our biggest church (kirkja=church) and is named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, a reverend and hymn writer (1614-1674) who wrote the beautiful hymns "Passíusálmar" which are Iceland's most popular hymns (apart from the National anthem) and very dear to our Icelanders. Hallgrímskirkja is 73 m tall and was our biggest building until recently, when we got our first "sky scraper" :) The church stands on a hill, Skólavörðuholt, which is situated in the center of the city and is visible from all over Reykjavík and surrounding areas, making it a great landmark. It is the building in Iceland which took the longest time to build. The former state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, got the plans for the church in 1937 and it was totally finished only in 1986, but long before that it was taken into use. The plan for the church was to make it resemble volcanic basalt rock formations. In December 1992 the church got its pipe-organ which is 15 m tall and weighs 25 tons with 5275 pipes, making it by far the largest church organ in Iceland. Notice the sculpture of Christ below the organ in my picture, which was made by Einar Jónsson, one of our most famous artists. He donated this sculpture to the church in 1948. His museum is across the street from Hallgrímskirkja.
Opening hours in Hallgrímskirkja: Every day from 9am - 5pm.
If you want to go to services you can visit the church at 11 o' clock on Sundays. It is a Lutheran church as are most of our churches in Iceland. There are also concerts in the church from time to time and the church has a remarkable choir "Mótettukórinn".
The tower with the observatory is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The price is 400 ISK for adults and 100 ISK for children 7 to 14 years old. You buy the tickets from the church-shop on the left hand side inside the church. The view is breathtaking, you can see all of Reykjavík from it really, the Atlantic ocean, the mountains, the mountain Esjan being the closest to Reykjavík. The church bells ring every 15 minutes so be aware of that. From time to time the church bells play tunes, which is lovely really.
In front of the church is a statue of Leifur Eiriksson "Leifur heppni" meaning "Leif the lucky", the first European to discover America around 1.000 A.D. On the back of the statue is written: "Leifr Eiricsson, son of Iceland, discoverer of Vinland. The United States of America to the people of Iceland on the one thousandth anniversary of the Althing A.D. 1930."
Across the street opposite the church is Hotel Leifur Eiríksson and our airport is named after Leifur Eiríksson as well "Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar".
If you take a bus to the Lækjartorg main bus terminal then walk from Lækjartorg up Bankastræti, which is the beginning of Laugavegur, but turn right on Skólavörðustígur, which takes you straight to Hallgrímskirkja. You cannot miss it as the church can be seen from the very beginning of Skólavörðustígur
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