Visiting the tiny town of Raufarhöfn you might see the town church. It was built in 1927 by Guðjón Samúelsson. I like the simple wood architecture, unfortunately it was closed when I came here. If you want to see the lighthouse of Raufarhöfn, that I described in a previous blog post, you will pass by the church.
If you come to Raufarhöfn you will not be able to miss visiting the interesting Arctic Henge. It is a modern setup of stones with its roots in the old believes when worshipping the sun was common. Here so far in the north, in the most northern village of Iceland, the cycle of the sunlight throughout the year is something affecting everyone. Therefore it is a good place for the Arctic Henge aiming to capture the sunlight.
For me it was a splendid place to capture great photos. And I was lucky to start my first full day in Iceland with a blue sky. To read more about the Arctic Henge, please click the emblem of Raufarhöfn below the photos. A seperate page will open. By the way, the Arctic Henge is called Heimskautsgerðið in Iclandic.
On my first day on Iceland I had the plan to reach Raufarhöfn from the ferry harbor in Seyðisfjörður. After leaving the Ringroad and heading north on road 85, I decided to have a visit to the turf houses of Bustarfell. Arriving there I noticed that season here did not start yet, but I had a look at the outside architecture. These buildings were the second turf structure that I could see in my life and therefor an interesting place. During the season you can visit the interior of the buildings and there is a cafe where you can have a rest. The area feels very remote and maybe I was blessed to have it all for my own that visit even it wasn’t open…
Here my impressions I could keep on photos. Enjoy!
After reaching the Ringroad from Seydisfjordur I took the direction north. My plan was to reach Raufarhöfn in the far north east of Iceland. On the way I suddenly saw a sign about a tourist sight. I stopped and found the Turf Houses of Hjarðarhaga. These are two turf sheephouses which were part of a group of outhouses of the nearby farm. In the 1970ies the others were taken away when the Ringroad was built. It is a pitty, but it is good to see those which remained being protected nowadays. You are allowed to enter the buildings and see how they are constructed. If you take the Ringroad you will directly pass by the buildings and it is a nice short stop.
At the outskirts of Reykjavik you will find a very beautiful Open-Air Museum with old houses that were taken here and added to a farm building that stood here. The museum showcases the rural and city architecture of Iceland with an old city square, a farm complex and a fishing village. In the farm complex you will find the fourth turf church that I could visit during my visit to Iceland. As it is a museum, I could enter the church, and take some pictures to show you how a turf church looks like. Just remember that this turf church is a reconstruction of an old turf church that stood in the north of Iceland. As a local friend of mine explains in her interesting blog about turf houses on Guide to Iceland, timber is very rare in Iceland due to missing trees therefore it was reused from old buildings when they got abundant. Actually much timer that was used in Iceland originates from floating wood collected from the coasts. But that is another story. So if you are in Reykjavik I recommend you to check out the Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum for the turf church.
Number three of the turf churches that I want to share with you is the turf church Hofskirkja in Hof in the southern part of Iceland. According to the information board standing closeby the church, it was built in 1884. During my visit to Iceland I learned that there are different ways of constructing turf buildings. In the north many turf buildings are set up fully with turf layers, while in the south, like this church, layers of turf are set between layers of stones.
If you are interested in churches, in particular turf churches, you will certainly also come to visit the beautiful Víðimýrarkirkja in Skagafjörður. It is one out of six turf churches, that have remained on Iceland.
There is a long tradition of having a church in the place, but the current turf church dates back to 1834. According to the information board on the site, this church was the first historic building that was taken under the care of the Iclandic National Museum.
During my visit it was not allowed to go near the church, there was a sign restricting access so I was not able to take closeup photos of the building and grave yard, but I recommend to have a look at the pages of a friend of mine from Iceland, who intensively writes for the platform ‘Guide to Iceland‘. Thanks Regina for the effort you put into your pages about Iceland! Here is her page about the Víðimýrarkirkja.