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Thingeyra Church

Region: North Iceland
Coordinates: 65.5546595° N 20.4046154° W

This church belongs to the Thingeyrar benefice in the Hunavatn deanery. The second oldest monastery of the country was officially established at Thingeyrar in 1133, but unofficially about 8-10 years earlier. It soon became the centre of literary learning and historic documentation. Thingeyrar is an abandoned farm. The present glory of the estate is based on its former historic achievements in preserving the old literature and the past and present cultural influence.

The present church is the work and was the private property of the farmer, who built it in 1877. It is made of chiselled basaltic stones from a quarry 8 km away from the place of construction. The stones were prepared during summer and transported across Lake Hop on sledges pulled by oxen during winter. The church possesses many precious artifacts from the earlier churches, such as the beautiful canopy pulpit, decorated with carvings of holy men, and the excellent canopy baptismal fond. Because of the elaborate construction work, the 85 cm thick walls have stood firm up to this date. Ten large windows have almost equally many small panes as there are gold plaited stars underneath the vaulted ceiling or close to 1000. The Cornish organ was imported from the USA in 1923. Opposite the altar on the loft are railings with banisters and between them are replicas of the original statuettes of the 12 apostles and Christ above.

The originals were sold to a lady in Copenhagen. It is safe to affirm that this church is the most ceremonial and beautiful one in the country. It possesses one of the few precious 15th century English alabaster altarpieces from Nottingham. The beautifully carved pulpit from 1695 with bas-reliefs of holy men and wound pillars is one of the most precious possessions of the church.

North Iceland Saga Trail

Photo Credit: Arian Zwegers

Thingeyra Church in Icelandic

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