The beautiful Geirsstaðakirkja Turf Church in East Iceland - a Replica of an old Turf Church
On the land of Litli-Bakki in Hróarstunga in East Iceland, you will find a replica of a 1000-year-old farm turf church, which stood on this spot in the Commonwealth Age (þjóðveldisöld 930-1262).
An archaeological dig back in 1997 on the land of Geirsstaðir, run by the East Iceland Cultural Museum - Minjasafn Austurlands, unearthed old ruins of a farmstead, consisting of a Viking long-house, a turf church, and two smaller buildings. A circular turf wall was unearthed around the buildings.
Top photo: Geirsstaðakirkja church
Inside Geirsstaðakirkja Turf Church
Geirsstaðakirkja turf church is built of turf, wood, and stone according to the old ways of building turf houses. Inside this small turf church, you will find a wooden altar with a beautiful big wooden cross.
On the altar lies a carved guest book and information on the turf church, wrapped in plastic as there is a small open window above the altar.
The church might have been the home church of Hróar Tungugoði (he lived at Hof), who was the son of Uni the Danish Garðarsson. His wife was Arngunnur, the sister of Gunnar at Hlíðarendi from Njálssaga.
Geirsstaðakirkja Turf Church
This building style was common here during the first ages of Christianity, and a common church type in Norway. It is believed that it was a domestic church, as it were, only meant for the farm.
There are farm churches all around Iceland and you can see farm churches in the remotest places in Iceland. I try to visit them all.
Geirsstaðakirkja turf church was built in 1999-2001. The funds for the building of this church were largely from the funds of the EU, but also from the Icelandic Institutions "Vísindasjóður Rannsóknarráðs Íslands", "Norður-Hérað" and "Nýsköpunarsjóður atvinnulífsins".
Bjarni Ólafsson carved the artwork in the doorpost of the church by a drawing from Gunnar Bjarnason, house-builder.
The turf church, which faces east and west according to an old tradition, was blessed in 2001 and a Christening took place here that same year.
It is such a lovely little turf church with carved benches in front where one can have a picnic. It is so worth stopping by the church and imagining that you are back in Viking times in Iceland. I think this is a job well done - a really applaudable project.
Geirsstaðakirkja Turf Church
This turf church is a replica of an ancient turf church, but there are only 5 turf churches in their original form left in Iceland.
The biggest of them is Saurbæjarkirkja turf church and the one that is considered to be the most beautiful of the remaining turf churches is Víðimýrarkirkja turf church. Then there is Grafarkirkja turf church, which is the oldest turf church in Iceland, and Núpsstaðakirkja turf church, which is the smallest one of the turf churches in Iceland.
The last turf church to be built in Iceland is Hofskirkja turf church. Then there is one more turf church at Árbæjarsafn Museum in Reykjavík, which was rebuilt from wood from an older turf church at Silfrastaðir in Skagafjörður.
The turf and rock Viking ship
By the church, you will find artwork in the liking of a Viking ship, built by Donald Gunn, a Scottish stone-builder.
Geirsstaðakirkja turf church is located at the junction of roads 925 and 926, close to Lagarfossvirkjun hydroelectric power station. The turf church can be seen from the road and there is easy access to it.
Geirsstaðakirkja turf church
There is so much to see in East Iceland, but I have only written a couple of travel-blogs about this beautiful area:
The strangely looking Sound Sculpture Tvísöngur in Seyðisfjörður in East-Iceland
Dvergasteinn - the Rock of the Dwarfs - by Seyðisfjörður in East-Iceland - Icelandic Folklore
The majestic Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Waterfalls in East-Iceland
East Iceland is dotted with beautiful little villages and hidden secrets
Here is the location of Geirsstaðakirkja church on Google maps.
Have a lovely time exploring East Iceland :)
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Sænautasel Turf House in the Highland of Iceland
The Dynamic Plant Lupine
Secret waterfall on the South Coast
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