The settlement of Húsavík in north Iceland lies within a stone’s throw of the Arctic Circle, and is blessed with a magnificent setting. Among the town’s delights and idiosyncrasies is a striking church.
From: Iceland – Bradt Travel Guide by Andrew Evans
The Húsavík church was built in 1907 and looks nothing like any other church in Iceland. Designed in the Sweitzer style, every piece of the church came from Norway, already shaped and painted, ready for assembly. It is the masterpiece of Rögnvaldur Ólafsson, the very first ‘modern’ Icelandic architect who went to great lengths to create something original. Note the faux marble columns that are actually wood, the perfect square floor plan, the angled Gothic windows, the lofty ceiling and wide balconies. The carved wooden front is a town treasure, as are the silver candlesticks which came from Denmark in 1640. The most renowned prize is the painting behind the altar, completed in 1931 by artist Sveinn Thórarinsson. The event portrayed is biblical (the resurrection of Lazarus) but the landscapes are clearly Icelandic, including scenes from the painter’s home (Kelduhverfi), the mountains of nearby Öxarfjörður, and the misty spray rising from the gorge at Dettifoss.
The first and last images were taken from a boat in Skjálfandi bay. The second photograph was shot with Canon’s remarkable Tilt-Shift 17mm f/4 L lens which enables perspective correction.
Update: A communication by Sigvaldi who lives in north Iceland – “The design of the Húsavík church is not the only one in Iceland, Rögnvaldur designed two other churches with the same cross shaped layout, Hjarðarholt (Dalasýsla, west Iceland) and Breiðabólsstaður (Fljótshlíð, south Iceland). All three are among the best in Icelandic architecture.”
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