Hjaltadalur Things to Do
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.
Gvendarbrunnur is a well named after Guðmundur góði Arason, Gvendur is a nick name for Guðmundur.
There is one well called Gvendarbrunnur at Hólar. And more in other places in Iceland. They are said to have healing powers as Guðmundur góði Arason blessed them.
The water reserve for Reykjavik in Heiðmörk is called Gvendarbrunnar.
Gvendarbrunnur at Hólar was reconstructed in the 1950s.