Reykjavik's landmark church
Hallgrímskirkja is the landmark Lutheran church in Reykjavík. Standing 73 meters tall, Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in the country and is named for Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of the Passion Hymns.
The design of the church is said to be inspired by the basalt lava columns that line many areas along Iceland’s coast. Though Guðjón Samúelsson was commissioned to design the church in 1937, construction did not begin until 1945 and was not completed until 1986.
Being located on top of Skólavörðurholt, the highest point in central Reykjavík, the steeple of Hallgrímskirkja provides visitors with a stunning 360° view over Reykjavík and the surrounding area. The church is a visual landmark in the city for locals and visitors, and serves as a congregation point for revelers during the city’s raucous New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The centerpiece of the courtyard in front of Hallgrímskirkja is a large statue of Leif Eriksson, an Icelandic explorer who is believed to be the first European to land in North America, establishing a settlement at Vinland, in modern day L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada. The statue was gifted to Iceland by the United States in 1930 to mark the 1000th anniversary of Iceland’s parliament.View Reykjavik capital area