The mother of them all. Sort of spaceshippy and/or phallic in appearance. Took a lifetime to complete, as it was originally planned in 1914, construction started in 1945, and it was finally consecrated in 1986. Named after 17th century priest and poet Hallgrímur Pétursson, who wrote an epic poem about the martyrdom of Christ, and married a woman who had previously been abducted by Turks, before dying of leprosy. The area housed barracks during World War Two. The view from the tower is probably the best in town. Outside the church is a statue of the heathen Leifur Eíríksson, whereas inside is a lifesize (presumably) statue of Jesus himself.
Designed by the same architect as Langholtskirkja, but very different in design. Known for its stained glass windows designed by sculptor Gerður Helgadóttir, which follow the bow shape of the walls and said to create a mysterious atmosphere in the way they filter daylight. People supposedly go there as much for the great view as the closeness to God. The church has had its share of organ problems, and is currently on its fourth organ. The first was a harmonium owned by a nearby school, the second only lasted for 7 years before being sold off and the 3rd, lasting from 1964 to 1997 was very vulnerable for climate changes. Let us hope they won’t be looking for a new organ donor soon.
Kristskirkja í Landakoti
Iceland’s last Catholic bishop, Jón Arason, was executed in 1550, and has since, paradoxically for a supposedly Lutheran country, become something of a national hero for standing up to the Danes. Following his death, every Dane in the country was killed, but no one saw this as a good time to declare independence, and Danish rule was silently reimposed. Was known at the time for being a staunch advocate of literacy, and for raising some of the best sheep on the island. Modern genetic research has proven that he is in fact the direct ancestor of every living Icelander. Catholicism was relegalised in 1874, and they got their first church in 1897. This, the current Catholic church, was consecrated in 1929.
Guðjón Samúelsson was the state architect of Iceland from 1924-1950, and designed many churches, including the Catholic Church and Hallgrímskirkja as well as the National Theatre. This church was consecrated in 1949, and is not one of his most original works, as it looks a lot like the church he built in Akureyri a year earlier. Legend has it that Hallgerður Langbrók, wife of Gunnar from Njálssaga, lived here and that she is buried in the graveyard after having caused her mans death by refusing to ruin her hairdo so he could mend his bowstring when under attack, apparently because he had slapped her once. Let that be a lesson…
A rather recent church, consecrated in 1984. Apparently has great acoustics, and concerts are frequently held there. Among notable performers have been Faeroese singer Eivör Pálsdóttir. The house choir is apparently one to watch out for, as it won 3 gold medals in a choir competition in Tampere, Finland. Perhaps we should try entering it in Eurovision. The church also houses AA meetings, but how this affects the choir is, as yet, undocumented. The choir is currently in its 50th anniversary, as will be celebrated by the church. The area was farmland until about 1960, when encroaching urbanisation forced the farmers away.
Consecrated in 1957, it has been called the first modern church in Iceland, as it was built for other uses than just preaching. This probably was a reflection of declining church attendance. Even the architect realised this and did not bother to put up a belfry, as he felt there was no need for one on a modern church, probably as no one would heed the call anyway. As bars have become the more popular places for gatherings and spiritual refreshment, churches have responded to this competition by housing more and more AA meetings. Other attempts at modernisation include broadcasting mass directly over the internet, and the churchmobile, which drives around the area every Sunday.
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