Another Reykjavík landmark is the Hallgrímskirkja – the Church of Hallgrímur – named for poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns. Design work by state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson (1887 – 1950), began in 1937. Construction started in 1945. The first stage was the crypt, which was consecrated in 1948, the entire church was not consecrated until 1986, and is an active Lutheran parish church. The design suggests lava forms found in the Icelandic volcanic landscape. The tower can be seen from all over Reykjavík , we could even see it from Hafnarfjörður.
Since 1992 the church is also home to a magnificent concert organ, from the Johannes Klais Organworks in Bonn, Germany. I hadn’t known that before we went, and wondered what people were looking up at and photographing when we first walked in – the organ is behind you from the entrance. When I turned around WHOA! BIG ORGAN!!! it became very clear. The 24th International Organ Summer was actually going on while we were in Iceland, unfortunately it did not work out to go to a concert.