There is a cute little turf church at Núpsstaður in Fljótshverfi in South-Iceland, called Núpsstaðakirkja church. I have been visiting all of the 6 remaining turf churches in Iceland and have written a blog on each of them.
I am a huge fan of these turf churches and the turf houses remaining in Iceland and am so glad that some of them were preserved as historical monuments. All of the old turf churches and most of the turf houses in Iceland belong to Þjóðminjasafn Íslands - the National Museum of Iceland, which maintains them. Núpsstaðakirkja belongs to the National Museum's Historic Building Collection.
There is a delapidated turf house at Núpsstaður which dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and this beautiful little turf church. The little turf church is in very good condition.
It was built no later than 1657 and the oldest part of the church is from the 17th century. The first church on this site was most likely built before year 1200.
Núpsstaðakirkja was deconsecrated in 1765 by a letter from the King and was most likely used as a farm church or an oratory after that time. For a while it was used as a storehouse. It wasn't until 200 years later, or in 1961, that it was re-consecrated after having been repaired in 1958-1960.
In 1930 this little turf church become the first building in Iceland to come under the care of the National Museum of Iceland and to be declared as protected.
The National Museum of Iceland has put an altar from another church inside Núpsstaðakirkja turf church. This small cute little altar dates back to 1789 and belonged to the church Stóra-Dalskirkja.
The chandelier belonged to Víðimýrarkirkja turf church in North-Iceland.
Núpsstaður turf farm consists of 15 houses plus 4 others which are in ruins. The backdrop of the turf farm is so beautiful, these tall majestic mountains which take on all kinds of form and majestic pillars of rock hover over the farm.
Before ring-road 1 was opened in 1974 the farmers at Núpsstaður farm helped travellers cross the ever changing unbridged rivers of Skeiðarársandur sand plain and glaciers. Hannes Jónsson (1880-1968), farmer at Núpsstaður, helped travellers across for more than 50 years. His grave is in the graveyard behind the church.
Núpsstaður farm is privately owned so it cannot be visited and it is no longer possible to drive up to the farm as before. But I walked up to the farm to have a closer look at the turf church, seeing that I am writing about turf churches and turf houses in Iceland.
The farm, Núpsstaður farm, gets its name from the mountain east of the farm, Mt. Lómagnúpur. That mountain is one of the most majestic mountains here in Iceland in my opinion - a massive cliff.
Mt. Lómagnúpur has in my eyes always been one of Iceland's most majestic mountains, ever since I saw it first as a little girl travelling in Iceland with my parents. Back then ring-road 1 wasn't open yet and Mt. Lómagnúpur was like a massive guardian of the unbridged black sand plain of the south. The road stopped close to the mountain and we had to turn back.
Mt. Lómagnúpur is a huge mountain, which stands tall almost like an omen west of Skeiðarársandur. There is an account in the Saga of Njáll:
The Saga of Njáll speaks of a dream chieftain Flosi Þorgeirsson had. He dreamt that he was by Mt. Lómagnúpur. The mountain opened up and a giant stepped out of the mountain, holding a large iron rod. The giant called out the names of Flosi's men. First he called out the name of Grímur the Red, a kinsman of Flosi, and Árni Kolsson. Then he called out the names of Eyjólfur Bölverksson and Ljótur, the son of Hallur at Síða, and another 6 men.
The giant then kept silent for a while. He then called out the names of 5 of Flosi's men, which were the sons of Sigfús. He then called out another 5 names, Lambi, Móðólfur and Glúmur. And he called the names of another 3 men. Last of the names were Gunnar Lambason and Kolur Þorsteinsson. The giant then walked towards Flosi and Flosi asked him what was new and what was his name. The giant told Flosi that his name were Járngrímur. Flosi analysed the dream and believed that all these men, whose names were called out by the giant, were going to be killed.
If you get a chance step out of the car and have a look at Mt. Lómagnúpur from this angle while driving on the south-coast. It is just mesmerizing and a little scary at the same time.
Here is the location of Mt. Lómagnúpur on the map. To reach this area it is best to rent a car in Reykjavík and drive along the south coast of Iceland. Also check out the many interesting self-drive tours available.