The Church

The Chapel

The turf-clad stave church adjacent to the medieval farmhouse is a reconstruction of a typical Icelandic medieval chapel.

The reconstruction is based upon the foundation of a small church or chapel which was uncovered during archeological excavations at Stöng in Thjorsardalur-valley in 1986-88. The nave is 3.2 metres long and 2.7 metres wide. The chancel is narrower then the nave; 1.6 m wide and 1.4 metres long.

Kirkjan við Þjóðveldisbæinn

The front of the church is modelled on a woodcarving on the famous Valthjofstadur door, which dates from around 1200; this is the oldest known depiction of an icelandic church. The stave structure was surrounded on three sides by protective walls of turf and rock, and the roof was probably turf. The church site at Stöng is believed to date from the 11th century.

The reconstructed chapel was originally erected in the National Museum of Iceland in 1997 for the exhibition Church and Art - The Medieval Church in Norway and Iceland, staged by the National Museum and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research.

In 2000 the chapel was re-erected next to the reconstructed medieval farmhouse, and consecrated by the bishop of Iceland, that year. The consecration of the chapel was one of the many events in 2000 to commemorate the millenium of Iceland's adoption of Christianity around 1000 AD.


From the condectration of the chapel

The church was consecrated at a ceremony on July 21, 2000. The Inaugural festival was part of a celebration to mark the thousand-year anniversary of Christianity in Iceland.

The following were involved in the reconstruction of the chapel:

Architect: Hjörleifur Stefánsson
Builders: Gunnar Bjarnason and Leifur Ebenezarson
Turf Builder: Helgi Sigurdsson
Sponsorship: The office of the Prime Minister, Landsvirkjun and the municipality of Gnúpverjahreppur

The reconstruction of the chapel also took account of the findings of archeological research at Stöng by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, and the architectural research of Hördur Ágústsson


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  • Stjórnarráðið
  • Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur
  • Þjóðminjasafnið
  • Landsvirkjun


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