Skálholt Things to Do
I must add a tip on this - as it is breathtaking sitting in the church when the sun shines through the stained glass windows.
The cathedral gets filled with beautiful colours - and the altarpiece of Jesus changes colours by the reflection from the stained glass windows. To me Skálholt is a very special place of worship, I feel lifted up every time I visit it - but visiting it in the afternoon sun when the light shines through the windows is just out of this world.
The windows are a gift from Danish merchants and are made by one of our female artists, Gerður Helgadóttir. She started working on them in 1959.
The mosaic altarpiece is made by another of our female artists, Nína Tryggvadóttir. The windows show the story of the salvation. This mosaic is made by Nína´s watercolour. Each one of the mosaic tiles are marked with a number at the back of the tile. When the big earthquake in year 2000 shook Iceland a crack was formed in the mosaic altarpiece.
Both the stained glass windows and the altarpiece were made in Germany. So in order to fix them and the altarpiece they need to be sent to Germany.
There is excavation work in process beside the Cathedral and a lot of interesting old relics have been found there. Earlier 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.
Artefacts which have been found during excavation are now on display at our National Museum in Reykjavík. There are also some artefacts on display in the building next to the Cathedral where the restaurant is located.
Where the excavation work was carried out next to the Cathedral, has now been marked with rooms that have been found there. There is a dormitory, school, whey store, refectory, food store, meat store, children´s room, kitchen, court, library and the Bishop´s room. When I walked there I found such strong energy coming through the sole of my feet that it almost felt like I was walking on fire.
A stone-coffin was discovered during the excavation for the foundations for the church at Skálholt, of our bishop, Páll Jónsson who died in 1211, and that coffin is now on display in the church cellar. The coffin is by far the most important old relic to be found at Skálholt. In the cellar there are also 2 Icelandic tombstones and foreign tombstones of 5 bishops and 1 councillor. Over a period of 100 years it became "fashionable" for bishops to buy foreign tombstones and the oldest one of these tombstones is from 1697 and the "youngest" from 1796.
A tunnel leads to the cellar. In the olden days the tunnel was used as a tunnel between the Cathedral and the school. The tunnel was rebuilt in 1958 in the image of the old tunnel, so walking through it is like walking through a tunnel from the middle-ages.
Entrance fee to the cellar is ISK 100 and you put your money in a box at the top of the stairs.
I first visited the cellar when I was 7 years old and it kind of scared me to death, both the coffin and walking through the tunnel, so I did not revisit it until the year 2008 ;)