"Skálholt - The Cathedral." Skálholt by Regina1965

Skálholt Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 50 photos

Skálholtskirkja - The Cathedral of Skálholt.

Skálholtskirkja is one of Iceland's most historic places and to us Icelanders a holy place. It was the center of ecclesiastic power in Iceland and the first bishopric was founded here in 1056, with the first bishop, Ísleifur, taking seat.

From then on it became the center of learning, culture and worldly power in Iceland. 32 Catholic bishops sat here until the Reformation to Lutheranism in 1540. The Reformation was not done peacefully and the last Catholic bishop, Jón Arason, and his two sons, were beheaded here in 1550. After that 13 Lutheran bishops sat here until 1801 when the seat was moved to Reykjavík.

The first Cathedral was built in the 12th century, altogether there have been 10 churches there, built of wood, and some of them burnt down, others were destroyed by bad weather etc. Some of them were much larger than this present memorial Cathedral, which was built from 1956-1963.

I am directly related to Jón Arason:

Jón Arason (1484 - 7.11.1550) Helga Sigurðardóttir (1485-1559)

Helga Jónsdóttir 1510
Eiríkur Eyjólfsson 1540 - 1600
Eyjólfur Eiríksson 1580 - 1650
Jón Eyjólfsson 1600
Guðmundur "eldri" Jónsson 1637 - 1710
Þórdís Guðmundsdóttir 1690
Sigríður Jónsdóttir 1718 - 1769
Hólmfríður Oddsdóttir 1753 - 1838
Sigurður Þórólfsson 1776 - 1852
Sigurður Sigurðsson 1830 - 1906
Ásmundur Sigurðsson 1868 - 1919
My grandfather 1903 - 1977
My father 1942 - 2008
Regína 1965

Skálholtskirkja Cathedral.

The Icelandic Government donated Skálholt to the State Church in 1963.

There is a lovely café beside the church, and in winter time there is a public school there.

Skálholtskirkja Cathedral.

Skálholt is about 85 kilometres from Reykjavík, situated in Biskupstungur, and is on the Golden Circle tour.

Skálholtskirkja Cathedral as seen from the road. To reach Skálholt from Reykjavík from ring-road 1 turn left before you reach Selfoss on road 35 and right on 31 for Skálholt. It is about 85 km from Reykjavík.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:One of the most historical sites in Iceland.
  • Last visit to Skálholt: Aug 2014
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (12)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Lovely you can trace you family roots.!

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Jul 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Yes, it is easy here in Iceland, and most Icelanders are related to Jón Arason.

  • Odiseya's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    I like this place! You are real ambassador of your country! Keep that good work in presentation of Icelandic culture!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Regina, merry Christmas from Germany. Interesting to read that you can trace parts of your family roots back to the late 15th century.

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Dec 25, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Merry Christmas, Holger :) All Icelanders can trace their family roots back to the settlers in ca 870, I only stopped here as I was referring to Jón Arason, bishop.

    • Odiseya's Profile Photo
      Jun 20, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      Very interesting!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    Great that the Bible has survived for so long!
    Have a great trip Regina. Hope the weather is good for you!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Oh this looks lovely - we must definitely stop here! The stained glass looks especially lovely :-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Fine photos of this historic site in your tips and travelogue!

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Ha..IT IZZZ kind of creepy having the tombstones an remains like that in the basement.I can imagine that as a child you'd be frightened!What a TREASURE..having the Icelandic Bible..and looks to be in pretty decent condition too! Nice little page!! Thanks!

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    nice page. and interesting to see that you have your family tree sorted out that much.

  • SapineKuu's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Sounds like one intriguing if scary tunnel!

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2008 at 9:18 AM

    Regina, what is this rectangular thing? Is that a coffin? Very curious.

Regina1965 Visits Here Frequently!


“Bon Voyage :)”

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