Moomins in Iceland
In one of the Icelandic fjords in fantastic mountain scenery you can come across a very special building, which for sure will make you smile. It’s nothing else but a sacral version of a famous, fairy house of the Moomins. Its form might be different, its colours too, but charm unquestionably stays the same. Without a doubt – it’s a building from a fairy-tale! If the creatures from Tove Jansson stories were more religious they would definitely build a copy of this church in their valley.
So here it is – Kirkjubær located in Stöðvarfjörður, a little nice town in the eastern part of Iceland. This building is absolutely enchanting. Old, tiny church; whitened, wooden, with its roof, doors and windows details blue like a cornflower. Such a photogenic view, just like from a postcard. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a night in such a place? No? So now you definitely should take it into consideration. Now it’s possible. We will tell you a secret; it’s not a church any longer. Years ago it lost the Holy Spirit because it was converted from the protestant church into a hostel.
You must be wondering how it all happened, so the story goes like this. Kirkjubær was built in 1925. After it stopped to be used as the Stöðvarfjörður’s protestant main church, there was some complicated disagreement over who should maintain it; the municipality or maybe the congregation. Without solving this problem church stayed for some time and started to fall into ruin. One couple which lived close to Stöðvarfjörður decided that it’s a too precious monument to let it be destroyed. They did everything they could to buy this beautiful church. And soon the church became their property, precisely a summer house. They took great care of it: renovated, refurbished and gave this place a new soul instead of letting it rot away. Now the couple is divorced but they still take care of the church together. After some time, the church went through another metamorphose, from a summer house to a hostel. And now have a look on the Kirkjubær picture once again and try to imagine this – HOW IS IT TO OWN A CHURCH? It must be something incredible, don’t you think?
Kirkjubær’s interior will enchant you with its heavenly blue colour, which gives an amazing character to this place. This space will make you feel very calm and happy, so spending time there is a real pleasure. What’s more, Kirkjubær is pretty unique because of the fact that it still has the old, authentic religious accessories. You can eat your breakfast just next to the pulpit and the altar, sitting on one of the original church benches.
Another pleasure for us was meeting one of the church owners, Birgar. He welcomed us with a nice gift – just caught, big fish, which we prepared later for our dinner. And remember that you are in Iceland, so the surroundings are just outstanding. Stöðvarfjörður’s neighbourhood is very pretty but this place will always remind us of the extraordinary night in the church. Kirkjubær is definitely Iceland’s most unique and characterful place to spend a night. For us, it was such a memorable experience, that we will definitely stay there again. Maybe in the winter this time. It would be awesome to observe Nothern Lights through the big church windows, don’t you think?
Bite of tips:
Location: Kirkjubær is located in the centre of Stöðvarfjörður. It’s really recognisable, so you will know that you’re in the right place. It’s located on a hill, so you will see it from the main road.
Number of places to sleep: 10. You can sleep in the big bed situated in the chancel or stay on the ground’s floor couches. There is an option of putting more mattresses. Kirkjubær is not a super popular place to stay, so you shouldn’t have any problems with spending a night there. We visited the church in July. We made a reservation just one day before the arrival and had the luck to be the only guests.
Prices: Sleeping bag accommodation will cost you 5000 ISK. If you don’t have one, you can get bed linen for extra 1000 ISK. There’s also a possibility of renting the whole place. Ask the owners about the price.
Equipment: The church is fully and well equipped. It has got a kitchen and a bathroom with a shower. Don’t worry that you will freeze – it’s a warm and very welcoming place.
Reservations: Kirkjubær’s website (http://simnet.is/birgiral) wasn’t working at the time of writing this post, but you can always write an e-mail: [email protected] or call: +354 892 33 19. It is open all year round.
Stöðvarfjörður’s atractions: The village has the biggest private collection of minerals in the world called Petra’s Stone Collection. It’s an amazing place, and the collection’s history is really fascinating, so we will definitely write about it one day.
And what do you think about spending a night in a church?