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Church of Hallgrímur
64°08′30″N 21°55′36″W / 64.1417°N 21.9266°W / 64.1417; -21.9266Coordinates: 64°08′30″N 21°55′36″W / 64.1417°N 21.9266°W / 64.1417; -21.9266
Country Iceland
Denomination Lutheran
Website hallgrimskirkja.is
Founded 1945
Consecrated 26 October 1986
Status Active
Functional status Parish Church
Architect(s) Guðjón Samúelsson
Style Expressionist architecture
Completed 1986
Spire height 74.5 metres (244 ft)
Parish Reykjavík
Bishop(s) Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir

Hallgrímskirkja (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈhatl̥krimsˌcʰɪrca], church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft) high, it is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in Iceland.[1] The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), author of the Passion Hymns.[2]


Situated in the centre of Reykjavík, it is one of the city's best-known landmarks and is visible throughout the city. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the trap rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland's landscape.[3][4] The design is similar in style to the expressionist architecture of Grundtvig's Church of Copenhagen, Denmark, completed in 1940.

It took 41 years to build the church: construction started in 1945 and ended in 1986, but the landmark tower being completed long before the whole church was completed. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings were completed in 1974,[4] and the nave was consecrated in 1986.[1] At the time of construction, the building was criticized as too old-fashioned and as a blend of different architectural styles.[5] The church was originally intended to be less tall, but the leaders of the Church of Iceland wanted a large spire so as to outshine Landakotskirkja (Landakot's Church), which was the cathedral of the Catholic Church in Iceland.[5]

The interior is 1,676 square metres (18,040 sq ft). In 2008, the church underwent a major restoration of the main tower, and was covered in scaffolding. In late 2009, restoration was completed and the scaffolding was removed.

The church houses a large pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has electronic action; the pipes are remote from the four manuals and pedal console. There are 102 ranks, 72 stops and 5275 pipes.[1] It is 15 metres (49 ft) tall and weighs 25 metric tons (25 long tons; 28 short tons). Its construction was finished in December 1992. It has been recorded by Christopher Herrick in his Organ Fireworks VII CD and by Mattias Wager on his CD Live at Vatnajökull.

View from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

The church is also used as an observation tower. An observer can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains.

The statue of explorer Leif Eriksson (c. 970 – c. 1020) by Alexander Stirling Calder in front of the church predates its construction. It was a gift from the United States in honor of the 1930 Alþingi Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament at Þingvellir in 930 AD.[4]

Views of Hallgrímskirkja[edit]

Opening hours[edit]

  • Winter (October – April): 9 am – 5 pm
  • Summer (May – September): 9 am – 9 pm[6]


  1. ^ a b c Organ Fireworks VII – Christopher Herrick at the organ of the Hallgrimskirkja (CD). Hyperion. 1997. 
  2. ^ Other Icelandic churches named in memory of the same Hallgrímur are the Hallgrímskirkja in Saurbær, where Hallgrímur was minister, and since 1957 the church of the same name in Kjósarhreppur.
  3. ^ http://www.hallgrimskirkja.is/um-hallgrimskirkju/
  4. ^ a b c Noyes, David (March–April 2009). "Iceland – Europe's coolest little hot spot". Going Places. AAA:  28. 
  5. ^ a b Steinsteypuöldin, retrieved 2017-01-18 
  6. ^ http://en.hallgrimskirkja.is/information/

External links[edit]