Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrim's Church) in Reykjavik is the tallest and most striking church in Iceland.


History of Hallgrimskirkja

A Lutheran parish church, Hallgrimskirkja is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-74), author of the beloved Passíusálmar ("Hymns of the Passion") and other works. He was one of the most influential pastors during the Age of Orthodoxy and wrote many important Lutheran hymns.

The modern Nordic design of Hallgrimskirkja is the work of state architect Guðjón Samúelsson, who also designed Reykjavik's Landakotskirkja and the Akureyrarkirkju in Akureyri. The church took 38 years to build (1945-86), the tower being completed long before the church's actual completion.

What to See at Hallgrimskirkja

Rising 74.5 m (244 ft), Hallgrimskirkja is the tallest building in Iceland. It is situated in the city center and has become one of Reykjavík's best known symbols. The church has a stylized concrete exterior inspired by the distinctive basalt formations found throughout Iceland.

Hallgrimskirkja's interior is more traditional, but its modern-meets-Gothic lines are still reminiscent of ice formations and the smooth vault reminds one of an ice cave. There is little decoration, in line with Lutheran tradition. The most famous feature of the interior is the huge organ built in Germany in 1992, boasting a 50-foot-tall case and 5,275 pipes.

The bell tower, accessible via an elevator, provides the best views in the city. The three bells in the tower represent Hallgrímur, his wife, and their daughter who died young.

The statue in front of the church is of Leif Eríkson, an Icelandic/Norwegian explorer and the first European thought to have landed in North America. The monument was a gift from the United States for the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, which marked the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament.

Quick Facts on Hallgrimskirkja

Site Information
Names:Church of Hallgrímur · Hallgrim's Church · Hallgrimskirkja
Dedication: Hallgrímur Pétursson
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:64.141889° N, 21.927339° W
Address:Skólavörðuholti, 121
Reykjavik, Iceland
Phone:+354 510 1000
Hours:Daily 9am-5pm
Lodging:View hotels near Hallgrimskirkja
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgríms Church) - Frommer's Iceland
  2. Hallgrímskirkja - Wikipedia
  3. Hallgrimskirkja Church - Visit Reykjavik
  4. Fodor's Scandinavia, 11th ed.

More Information

© Trey Ratcliff
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© Stephan Lau
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© Stephan Lau

Map of Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik

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