The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

Previously, we wrote about 10 Most Beautiful Island Countries in the World, Iceland is one of great beautiful country. Hofskirkja Church is found in Öræfi which a region located in the western part of the county of Austur-Skaftafellssýsla in Iceland. Öræfi is about thirty kilometers from the Vatnajökull glacier and approximately twenty kilometers south of the Vatnajökull National Park. For a very long time Öræfi was among the most inaccessible areas in the country. The melting of the Vatnajökull glacier obstructed the path to and from the place. In 1974 a bridge was built and it finally enabled travelling to and from Öræfi. It is said to be the largest bridge in Iceland and measures 904 meters. The inhabitants of the region have upheld the wonderful tradition of greeting travellers to their place and providing them with food and shelter before proceeding on their journey. Hof is basically a small village housing a large expanse of farms which is still very sparsely populated today. The Hofskirkja church of Iceland is found in Hof and is one of the six churches in Iceland still maintained nowadays and well-looked-after as a historical monument.

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

The church was built in 1884, in memory of Saint Clement and is the last turf church fashioned in the old building style. The walls of the church are an assemblage of rocks and the roof is made of flat pieces of stone which have thereafter been coated with turf. The rocks provide the much needed stability to the church and insulate it from the harsh Icelandic climate as well. There was a time when building of turf houses was customary in Iceland where turf was used on the houses of people from various economic backgrounds. Those people wanted to protect themselves and their farm animals from the dire weather conditions of Iceland. Thus they used trees to form the structure of their houses and afterwards covered the whole frame with turf. However, towards the beginning of the nineteenth century, another type of construction came into practice where the extremities of the houses were made of wood and the turf covered the roofs and sides of the building. In the twentieth century, building of such dwellings suffered a radical decline and by the twenty-first century, only a few turf houses were being constructed. The invaluable know-how to establish such architectural marvels has since been primarily passed from older generation to new generations.

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

Moreover, even though the maintenance of the church is undertaken by the National Museum, it is also used as a parish church. It is purported to have been built by a carpenter named Páll Pálsson and the locks and hinges required for the door of the church were made by Þorsteinn Gissurarson, a famous blacksmith.

The Last Turf Church of Hof , Hofskirkja Church Iceland

The locals have many reasons to cherish the last turf church of Hof. It represents their cultural heritage and is their pride since centuries. It is a symbol of the expertise of their ancestors and stands as a monument to the enduring characteristics Hof. Tourists visiting the area should make it a must to glimpse this unique piece of architecture that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

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