A convent will open in Egilsstaðir within the coming months, occupying the space formerly used by a pharmacy.
The two-story building will house the nuns in apartments on the second floor and a church/reception area on the first. This will be the second existing convent in Iceland, the other being the Carmel convent in Hafnarfjörður, which was established in 1940.
Egillstaðir also happens to be home to a Cappuchin monk cloister, which was established in 2007, making it the first cloister in east Iceland in about 450 years.
Monks and nuns have existed in Iceland since before the Settlement era, when Irish monks established hermitages here. The first cloister was established in the northwest, at Þingeyri, in the year 1133. Over the centuries, only a few convents and cloisters sprung up in various parts of the country. In 1541, parliament passed a law which formally broke relations with the Catholic church, and all monks and nuns were obliged to leave the country or be executed.