Theft, indoor camping and general vandalism have prompted some of Iceland’s rural churches to start locking their doors.
In Iceland’s countryside, town and village churches are often left unlocked around the clock. However, RÚV reports that some churches have had to start locking their doors due to tourists taking great liberties with them.
A farmer who paid a visit to the church in Flatey was shocked to discover that someone had clearly stayed the night in the church, leaving a mess behind them. In addition, they had broken into the donations box and stolen its contents. As a result, the church is now locked during off-hours.
Earlier this month, Vísir reported that someone had also done some camping inside of Reykhólakirkja Church. These guests cooked food on a camping stove inside the church, and laid out wet clothes along the pews to dry.
As it clearly does not go without saying, churches are not impromptu indoor camping centres. Pay them a visit, by all means, but do not sleep, cook or do your laundry inside them.