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Like a lot of people, I'm sure, I've always held a fascination for castles. Especially the storybook turreted kind that cling to cliffs, laden with secrets and princesses and locked rooms. This isn't a castle, but a church, Háteigskirkja, located on the rise just to the east of Reykjavík's ubiquitous Hallgrimskirkja (just above Kjarvalstaður museum, number 29 on this map.) It's certainly a very lovely building, built in the Moorish style as the church web site notes, and probably as close as Iceland gets to a fantasy castle.

One thing that I find a little amusing is Icelanders' fascination with their illustrious history. Though I respect that our people have quite a collective story to tell (vikings, sagas, forays to America, volcanic destruction, etc.) there's little here structurally to show for it all. What I mean is that there are only a handful of buildings that pass the two century mark, and ultimately the "Icelander" as a phenomenon is just a bit over a millenia old. When I went to Norwich, England, last February and drank a draft (or two!) in a pub, The Adam and Eve, that has been serving continuously for 750 years I finally really understood what old meant (and that's aside from Bill the Conqueror's castle, erected a couple of centuries earlier!) Californians have pretty much the same problem in that there's barely a thing that's older than a century and a half, aside from an adobe mission or two. I guess I'm just a sucker for the really old, for history, for structure. Passing by this church the other day with the waxing moon between its spires, I guess I kind of wished it really were an ancient and storied castle.


Anonymous said...

This view of the church, plus a huge pine tree is exactly what I see from my bed when I don't bother drawing the curtains. It's a beautiful sight to fall a sleep and wake up to. :)

Did I see you in Oddi last tuesday or was I mistaken? :)

marine_explorer said...

Iceland has some truly beautiful architecture!
Someday I'll hope to visit...probably in Summertime. :-)

Other K(M)C said...

My lord, what time did you take this picture? I was in Reykjavik in May (I started reading your blog in preparation for the trip) and never saw it that dark out. The closest it came was the day I woke up at 4am, my brain thinking I was on California time and the rest of me suffering from a killer case of jet lag.