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"The Cathedral of Skálholt, South-Iceland." Top 5 Page for this destination Iceland Things to Do Tip by Regina1965

Iceland Things to Do: 998 reviews and 2,342 photos

  Skálholt Cathedral.
by Regina1965
  • Skálholt Cathedral. - Iceland
      Skálholt Cathedral.
    by Regina1965
  • Inside the Cathedral. - Iceland
      Inside the Cathedral.
    by Regina1965
  • Inside the Cathedral. - Iceland
      Inside the Cathedral.
    by Regina1965
  • The mosaic altarpiece of Jesus. - Iceland
      The mosaic altarpiece of Jesus.
    by Regina1965
  • The pulpit. - Iceland
      The pulpit.
    by Regina1965

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.

There is excavation work in process beside the Cathedral and a lot of interesting old relics have been found there. A stone-coffin was discovered during the excavation for the foundations for the church, of our bishop, Páll Jónsson who died in 1211, and that coffin is now on display in the church cellar. See my tip on that on my Skálholt page. There is a small museum on the second floor of the church displaying books which were printed in the 18th century, among them the 1st book printed in our language. Other artefacts found in Skálholt are on display in our National museum in Reykjavík. The Cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and an altarpiece of Jesus, made by two Icelandic women.

There is a public school in other buildings at Skálholt, which is a hotel during the summer time, and a lovely café. The official website for Skálholt is, but unfortunately it is only in Icelandic, but there are a lot of sites in English as well.
I recommend going there, as this is a very important place in Icelandic history and for me it has a magical touch to it, the energy in Skálholt is very special, at least to us Icelanders.

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

I have added a Skálholt-page with more tips and more pictures in a travelogue Skálholt

Address: Skálholt, Biskupstungur, 801 Selfoss, S-Iceland
Directions: Skálholt is on The Golden Circle bus tour, and about 85 kilometres north-east of Reykjavík. Turn left before you reach Selfoss on road 35 and right on 31 for Skálholt.
Phone: 354 4868870

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 4, 2013
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Comments (2)

Regina1965 Lives Here!


“Bon Voyage :)”

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