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 a 1000 years ago in Commonwealth Age (þjóðveldisöld) in Viking time (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.
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 is believed to be the home-church of Hróar, who was the son of Uni the Danish Garðarsson.
This building style was common here during the first ages of Christianity in Viking time, 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 a farm church in the remotest places in Iceland. You can see on this church-map how many churches there are in Iceland. I try to visit all of them on my travels in my country.
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 door-post 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 imagining that you are back in Viking times in Iceland. I think this is a job well done - a really applaudable project.
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 is rebuilt from baðstofa wood from Skagafjörður, in the liking of a turf church at Silfrastaðir. I wrote about all these turf churches some years ago but recently deleted my travel-blog posts, as they cannot withstand too much traffic.
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.
It is possible to spend days in East-Iceland and join a myriad of tours run by the locals:
Have a lovely time exploring East-Iceland :)