Hjaltadalur Things to Do
At Hólar there is both an exhibition on archaeology and the bishops at Hólar. The walls of the gymnasium are covered with big information signs on bishop at Hólar. A really interesting exhibition, especially for us Icelanders who learnt about these bishops in school.
This exhibition was opened in 2006 and tells us about the history of the many bishops at Hólar.
The older I get the more I appreciate Icelandic history and am eager to learn more about the Saga places in Iceland. Hólar in Hjaltadalur is such an important place in Icelandic history.
Here is a list of the bishops at Hólar:
1106–1121 Jón Ögmundarson
1122–1145 Ketill Þorsteinsson
1147–1162 Björn Gilsson
1163–1201 Brandur Sæmundsson
1203–1237 Guðmundur góði Arason
1247–1260 Heinrekur Kársson
1263–1264 Brandur Jónsson
1267–1313 Jörundur Þorsteinsson
1313–1322 Auðunn rauði
1324–1331 Lárentíus Kálfsson
1332–1341 Egill Eyjólfsson
1342–1356 Ormur Ásláksson
1358–1390 Jón skalli Eiríksson
1391–1411 Pétur Nikulásson
1411–1423 Jón Tófason eða Jón Henriksson
1425–1435 Jón Vilhjálmsson Craxton
1435–1440 Jón Bloxwich
1441–1441 Robert Wodborn
1442–1457 Gottskálk Keniksson
1458–1495 Ólafur Rögnvaldsson
1496–1520 Gottskálk grimmi Nikulásson ("grimmi" means "the cruel")
1524–1550 Jón Arason
1552–1569 Ólafur Hjaltason
1571–1627 Guðbrandur Þorláksson
1628–1656 Þorlákur Skúlason
1657–1684 Gísli Þorláksson
1684–1690 Jón Vigfússon
1692–1696 Einar Þorsteinsson
1697–1710 Björn Þorleifsson
1711–1739 Steinn Jónsson
1741–1745 Ludvig Harboe
1746–1752 Halldór Brynjólfsson
1755–1779 Gísli Magnússon
1780–1781 Jón Teitsson
1784–1787 Árni Þórarinsson
1789–1798 Sigurður Stefánsson
There has been a church at Hólar since the 11th century but the current church was raised in 1763 and is one of the oldest stone-churches in Iceland. It is red and the red stones come from the mountain above Hólar.
The first bishop at Hólar was Jón Ögmundsson helgi "the holy" - but the best known are Guðmundur góði Arason, Guðbrandur Þorláksson, who translated and published Guðbrandsbiblía Bible, the first Icelandic bible, in 1584, and Jón Arason, who was the last Catholic bishop at Hólar. A copy of Guðbrandsbiblía Bible is on display in the church.
The church tower is so lovely and one of its kind here in Iceland seeing that it is free-standing. It is 27 meters high and stands beside the church. The tower was built in 1950 on the 400th anniversary of the death of bishop Jón Arason, who was the last Catholic bishop of Iceland. He was beheaded in the year 1550 together with his sons (see my tip on Skálholt) at the change of religion to Lutheranism (so Christian of them).
The church tower is open to visitors and it is possible to walk up to the church bell. On the ground-floor there is a tiny chapel containing the earthly remains of Jón Arason. Do pay it a visit.
All in all there were 36 bishops at Hólar, 23 Catholic and 13 Lutheran.
I visit the Cathedral with awe, I just cannot help it, there is such a bip part of Iceland's history here. There are so many artefacts here and a beautiful altarpiece from 1520 - we Icelanders are not used to decorative churches being Lutheran.
The church tower at Hólar is what makes Hólar so destinct in my eyes.
It is a memorial for Jón Arason, the last Catholic bishop in Iceland. The tower stands by the cathedral. It is 27 meters high and here Jón Arason is buried. The tower was consecrated on the 13th of August 1950, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jón Arason.
Hróbjartur Jónasson from Hamri í Hegranesi was the master builder of the tower, but Sigurður Guðmundsson designed it for free.
One can enter the tower and walk up the stairs to see the church bell.
As you enter there is the grave and a mosaic picture of Jón Arason. He was beheaded with his sons at Skàlholt on the 7th of November 1550.