The capital of Iceland
(more than 200,000 in the Great Reykjvík Area)
in the whole country there are only 320,000
Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík, named in honor of the great Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), designed by Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937 and built during the years 1945–86. It is 74.5 meters high and is visible from most parts of Reykjavík. It is claimed to be inspired by Iceland's basalt columns and the peak Hraundrangi in Öxnadalur.
In front of the church stands a 1930 gift from U.S.A., a statue of Leif Ericsson (c.970–c.1020) who sailed from Iceland to discover Vinland, later to be called America.
Vinland means 'Pasture-Land'. Those times rich pastures were the most valuable asset for settlers. This meaning of 'vin' may have disappeared some eight hundred years ago (both in Iceland and the rest of Scandinavia it now means 'wine'), but I know it is still contained in about a thousand names of Norwegian farms (that never produced wine!).
The open and daylight illuminated space inside Hallgrímskirkja is awesome. The altar is as convention prescribes placed in the east end, that's where the sun rises.
The Hallgrímskirkja organ has 5275 pipes.
Up the street Skólavöðustigur towards Hallgrímskirkja.
In 2010 Reykjavík was full of splendid new buildings and new cars, indicating a rich nation. But in 2008 a serious financial crisis had hit Iceland, and many construction sites had come to a standstill. This one is the Icelandic National Concert and Conference Centre (often referred to as the Opera House). It was a part of a larger plan, including a hotel etc. The Government decided to finance the finishing of the house only. 11 December 2009 it was given the name Harpa (=the Harp) and the opening concert took place 4 May 2011.
The completed Harpa in 2013 – before sunset.
The entrance hall of Harpa. The building is inspired by Icelandic volcanic nature: Black cliffs and hexagonal basalt columns. The concert halls are known to have an excellent acoustic quality. Even the acoustic quality of this hall is very good; you don't have to listen, just look at all those angled surfaces. Visiting in the tourist season, we did enjoy a short sample of an opera performance down there on the ground floor.
The building was designed by the Henning Larsen Architects in Denmark, but the very special glass facade was designed by Olafur Eliasson (1967–), an international artist of Icelandic origin.
The Höfði house in Reykjavík was built in 1909. In 1958 it was purchased by Reykjavík City and has later been used for formal receptions and similar things. Höfði became known to the world in 1986 when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met there.
Laugardalur (=bathing-valley) is a place for open air activities, like swimming and other sports, and occasional outdoor concerts. There is a kind of zoo for children (Fjölskyldu og Húsdýragarðurinn) and then my favorite, Grasagarður Reykjavíkur, a public park and botanic garden with more than 5000 northern plant species. Within the park is also the very nice Café Flora, and, as shown, ponds where graylag geese (and often other birds) are swimming.
In the old days women did the city's laundry in the hot springs at the present botanic garden. Close to the only washing basin left you'll find this statue of Þvottakonan (The Washerwoman, 1937) by Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893–1982). Behind left, Áskirkja, Laugarás.
A statue in the center of the city, 'Vatnberinn' (The Water Carrier, 1936–37) created by Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893–1982).
Everybody that has walked through the center of Reykjavík has noticed this statue: 'Roots' (2000), created by Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir / Thorarinsdottir (1955–), an international artist of Icelandic origin.
Shopping is not my favorite activity, but, you know. Several times my eyes caught this familiar (at least for a Norwegian) pattern, the Selbu Rose.
Curiously, handicraft shops all over Iceland also use the Selbu Rose logo, but that's okay, it's not a registered trade mark. This picture was taken at a souvenir shop close to Varmahlíð Hotel, North Iceland.