Iceland’s tiny churches

Wherever I travel in the world I find myself strangely drawn to churches. The architecture is always so beautiful and there’s something I love about the musty smell of polished wood and the slow clacking sound of people desperately trying to walk quietly on stone flagstones.

I came across these adorable little Icelandic churches in  Home & Delicious magazine… they’re a world apart from the grand cathedrals of Europe. I was immediately charmed and as I couldn’t understand a word of the feature I thought I’d see if I could find out any more about them.

{above all Home & Delicious}

When Iceland adopted Christianity in 100 AD, local landowners built their own personal churches on their farms – presumably so they wouldn’t get frozen to death on the way to pray! As a result, the country is dotted with minuscule places of worship, often only big enough for 20 or so faithful farmhands to squeeze into.

{above Daniel Pivnik}

{above Michelle Leale}

{above Roantrum}

Some of the oldest are built from turf to protect them from freezing winds and volcanic eruptions. This one looks like a cosy little hobbit house to me.

{above Dajbjartur Kr. Brynjarsson}

Many of these little Icelandic churches are simply decorated inside with just a couple of wooden benches, a simple altar and sometimes only packed earth on the floor. However the 25 residents of Skógar village have chosen to go for something a bit more colourful inside their church!

{above Scott Long}

I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a while and now I’ve seen these sweet little churches I want to go even more. Have any of you ever been lucky enough to go?

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  1. Chris says

    Great find, these are stunning… love the contrast between the muted, naturally-beautiful woods and the colourful Skogar pic (incidentally the area around Skogar is known for its turf homes). Iceland has been on my list for a long time, too, maybe next year!

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