Upon visiting Reykjavik, one must not only visit its museums and dive in its bustling night life. In order to get the ultimate experience, it is crucial to get to know some architectural gems that are been scattered throughout the city (particularly in its center and around downtown).
One of the greatest accomplishments and probably the most well-known of all the buildings in Reykjavik is Hallgrímskirkja, a gorgeous 73 meters high church in the heart of the city; a spot which has been particularly favored by foreign visitors and has become an important symbol of Reykjavik. It took almost thirty years to fbuild this truly impressive and stunning church which is not only the largest church in Iceland, but also the sixth tallest architectural structure in the whole country.
The image of the church is quite unusual taking into account that most of the churches around Iceland are pretty modest and simple. The architect of Hallgrímskirkja, Guðjón Samúelsson, intentionally built the church as if it would consist of big vertical pieces, which are intended to resemble basalt lava flows that are very common in the Icelandic landscape.
Once you enter the church, you will be able to gaze at the enormous pipe organs on which some great recordings and concerts have been performed. There is also a chance to get up the tower of Hallgrímskirkja and enjoy a marvelous view of the city from the top.
Right outside the church you will find another sightseeing highlight worth getting to know. It is the scuplture of Leifur Eiriksson – Icelandic explorer which is known to be the first European who landed on North America. Yes, you heard me correctly – as some historical recordings and documents (such as Icelandic sagas) suggest, Leifur Eiriksson arrived in Vinland (area in Newfoundland and coastal North America, now located in Canada) in 1000AD which in fact is 500 years before Christopher Columbus did his famous trip to India (which turned out to be America).