Reykjavík Of Yore: From Mundane To Watergate - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reykjavík Of Yore: From Mundane To Watergate

Reykjavík Of Yore: From Mundane To Watergate

Published June 18, 2017

Valur Grettisson
Photos by
Art Bicnick
Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur

Well, to be honest, the story of Háteigskirkja is painfully uninteresting. This is probably not the best way to start an article, but bear with me, because this article will unexpectedly end with Watergate (sorry to ruin the suspense).

The church was consecrated during in the advent in the year of 1965. The women’s association of the parish donated a church mural by Benedikt Gunnarsson more than twenty years later. The picture is of course overdramatic, like all church murals. Its name is quite modest, though: “The Cross and the Light of the Holy Trinity.” Exciting, right?   


The architect who designed Háteigskirkja,  Halldór H. Jónsson, was well-known in Iceland as the man who designed famous houses like Hótel Saga (also known as the farmers’ palace), and the former home of our national broadcast company. He also designed the headquarters for the largest construction company in Iceland, Islenskir aðalverktakar—the structure is ironically called “the Watergate building” by Icelanders. So, there you have it: from mundane to Watergate.

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