Iceland Mag

11 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


The very last turf church of Hof in Southeast Iceland was built in 1884

By Matt Eliason

  • Hofskirkja Church The turf church of Hof in the Öræfi region was built in 1884 and is maintained by the National Museum, but also still acts as a parish church. Photo/Flickr

The Hofskirkja church is a sight to behold. Having survived130 years of Iceland's unpredictable weather patterns, the iconic church stands in the Öræfi region in southeast Iceland about 20 km east of Vatnajökull glacier.

Turf houses became the new style of architechture near the end of the 18th century, which helped shield the residents from the harsh Icelandic winters. The basic structure includes wooden trees as the framework with turf covering the remainder of the structure. However, it is rare for these types of structure to last this long, and any remaining turf houses standing in Iceland have been well kept to fend off mother nature.

Hofskirkja church is amazingly still a practicing parish church, which is maintained by the National Museum of Iceland. The roof is made of stone slabs and voered by the turf. Additionally, Hofskirkja church is one of six churces in Iceland that are preserved as historical monuments.

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