The tower of Reykjavík’s iconic Lutheran church, Hallgrímskirkja, has been temporarily closed as of yesterday so that work may be done on installing a new, faster elevator.
As one of the city’s major sightseeing attractions, the closure has caused some concern amongst Icelandic travel agencies and tour operators. With up to 1000 visitors to the church each day, as well as the summer tourist season readying to kick off, a new lift has been deemed necessary for Hallgrímskirkja’s maintenance.
Thankfully, managing director of the church, Sigríður Hjálmarsdóttir, told Icelandic news site, MBL.is that crews are working around the clock to ensure the new lift is installed in the shortest time possible. It is expected the church will reopen no later than May 28th.
The new lift has been constructed with more headroom for passengers, and will travel at 1.6 metres per second, as opposed to the 1 metre per second speed of its predecessor. Given that the church tower itself stands at 74.5 metres, it is expected that this lift will greatly ease pedestrian traffic within the building.
Hallgrímskirkja was designed by the Icelandic state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, who took his inspiration from Iceland’s diverse nature, though in particular the basalt column that surround Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Construction began in 1945, ending 41 years later in 1986.
Today, guests best know Hallgrímskirkja for its unique and striking design, the statue of Icelandic explorer, Leif Erickson, and the enormous pipe organ that sits within its 1,676 square metre interior.
Have you paid a visit to Hallgrímskirkja church in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík? Which are your favourite churches or cultural landmarks in the land of ice and fire? Make sure to leave your thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments box below.