The View from Hallgrímskirkja | Reykjavík, Iceland

view from Hallgrímskirkja
Looking down at Reykjavík from up high in Hallgrímskirkja

In my last post, A Visit to Hallgrímskirkja, we had a chance to see the exterior of the church as well as inside the church itself along with the church’s history.  But I have to admit that the best part of this trip was going all the way up to the top to take in the view from Hallgrímskirkja of the entire city of Reykjavík.  

For a fee you can ascend the 75m (246-ft.) steeple by elevator for great views over the city.  When you enter the church, you’ll immediately see an elevator to the left that takes you up into the steeple.  Don’t stand in the line here, but instead walk inside and make a left to the church shop where you can purchase your ticket.  The elevator only accommodates six people at a time, but the line does move quickly.  Once you get off the elevator, you’ll need to ascend several stairs up to the viewing area and emerge from the inside enclosure to the viewing platform, which is open to the outside elements so dress appropriately because it can get really cold here.  

When you get off the elevator, you might see the Beating Time art installation by Jo Yarrington that I saw during my visit on October 11, 2014.  View the pictures above and then read the description from Jo Yarrington’s website:

For the Hallgrimskirkja’s site project, Beating Time, transparent photographic work will be adhered to the four translucent clock faces in the church’s bell tower. The 9-ft diameter clocks align with the four major compass points; north, south, east, and west. The interior clock faces are made of translucent glass. In the central section, a connected series of photographic images, taken on Iceland’s Outer Ring road, depict a hand holding quotidian objects such as wires and glass shards which suggest by their placement physical and perhaps metaphoric alignments with the sun and the surrounding landscape.  

The images selected for the segmented windows surrounding each clock’s core reference early 20th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s sequenced action photographs of a conductor’s hands (also entitled “Beating Time”), and the evangelical basis of Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran doctrine. Giving a contemporary and real life aspect to the work will be the incorporation of photographed hands of the reverends and musical conductor of the church arranged to simulate the “conducting” of the church’s most well know hymn by founder, Hallgrimur Peturssón.

The opening reception was on June 23, 2014 and by the time I arrived in October, people had already been scratching the surface of the film and defacing the art installation.  You can’t see in the pictures above, but as you move in for a closer look, they are scratched with people’s names and other things. So disappointing! 

Enough of the Debbie Downer diatribe already.  Let’s move onto the view! 

view from Hallgrímskirkja
The View from Hallgrímskirkja

That white building with the gray roof opposite the red roofed building is Hotel Leifur Eiriksson where I would go to pick up my shuttle for the excursions I took with Iceland Travel. 

view from Hallgrímskirkja
How about that view of the Leifur Eiriksson statue out in front of Hallgrímskirkja?
The view from Hallgrímskirkja

The view from every side of Hallgrímskirkja is breathtaking.  No matter where I looked, I could see water, mountains, green landscape, and bright colored buildings all around me. 

view from Hallgrímskirkja

Perlan or “The Pearl” is 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high and located on the hill Öskjuhlíð where hot water storage tanks had been located for decades. In 1991, the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. It now has shops, a cafeteria, a revolving restaurant, and a cocktail bar as well as 10,000 cubic meters of exhibition space on the ground floor.  If you want to learn more about Perlan, visit the website here

TSG Tip:  Did you know they planted more than 176,000 trees on the hillside to give this area of the city a woodland-like setting?

view from Hallgrímskirkja
The view from Hallgrímskirkja

I absolutely love this picture with the shadow of Hallgrímskirkja dancing on the buildings below. 

If you’ve been to Reykjavík before, then you certainly will recognize Harpa, a concert hall and conference center, which is one of Reykjavik‘s greatest and distinguished landmarks. This building is striking, both inside and out.  From the Harpa website

It is a cultural and social centre in the heart of the city where it poses majestically by the harbour. Harper is an enchanting destination for intrigued travellers and its grand-scale award-winning architecture has attracted 3 million guests since its opening, May 4, 2011.

Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre is designed by Olafur Eliasson, Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects. Harpa has won multiple awards for architecture including Mies van der Rohe in 2013, Best public space – Arkitekturmassan Awards 2012, World Architecture Award 2010. 

Harpa was chosen one of the best concert halls of the new millennium by the prestigious music magazine Gramophone magazine and was chosen the best performance venue in 2011 by Travel & Leisure magazine. Autumn 2012 Harpa received the prestigious award as the Best MICE Centre in Northern Europe.

view from Hallgrímskirkja
The view from Hallgrímskirkja

Now don’t you want to visit Reykjavík?  If these pictures don’t motivate you to go and explore Iceland, I’m not sure what will!  Next up you’ll get to follow me as I venture out once more in search of the Northern Lights. 

Hallgrímskirkja Church
Address: Hallgrímstorg 1
101 Reykjavík

General Admission:
Entry to the tower, adults: ISK 700
Entry to the tower, children 7-14 years old: ISK 100

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