Iceland’s largest church stealing impressions of its shape

There are several in Europe who certainly impress young and old for their architecture and imposing appearance. Undoubtedly, the one that stands out both for its shape and its height is the Lutheran church Hallgrímskirkja located in Reykjavik, its capital. The church’s height reaches 74.5 meters, while it is the largest church in Iceland and among the highest buildings in the country. Its original design, has made it one of the most popular attractions in the city, as it is visible from every point of the city. The church was named after poet and pastor Hallgrímur Pétursson, who is regarded as one of the greatest Icelandic hymnographers. It was also designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, who was inspired by Iceland’s natural landscape, especially the icy bulbs and basalt shapes around the Svartifoss waterfall, to create a separate design that would represent the country’s national identity and culture. The church’s construction began in 1945 and was completed in 1986, with the tower being built before the “side wings”. In front of the church is the statue of explorer Viking Leifur Eiriksson who is considered to be the first European to set foot in continental America and even, half a millennium, before Christopher Columbus. The statue designed by American sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder was the gift offered by the U.S. to Iceland to celebrate the nation’s 1,000 years of operation (Alpingi), with the first meeting having been convened in 930 AD at the Pingvellir site, currently converted into a national park, becoming one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. At the same time, the church is also used as a place of observation, as visitors can climb up by elevator to the top of the building and enjoy the entire city and the magnificent landscape of nature, having panoramic views. Inside the church is simple and what stands out is the giant organ of German Johannes Klais of Bonn that produces amazing sounds. This instrument consists of 5,275 yards (tubes) and its height is 16 metres, weighing a total of 25 tonnes. In addition, the temple participates every year in the festival of light resulting in it being “transformed” changing appearance during the evening hours with intense lighting and impressive colors. Finally, the temple is open to the public daily, but there is a ticket if you visit the tower that operates as an observation post, while every Sunday it operates.