Hólar: The City of 100

16 06 2013

The conference took place at Hólar, so I would be remiss not to talk about the “city”.

It is called a city because it is the bishop seat and therefore has a cathedral.

It is called a city because it is the bishop seat and therefore has a cathedral. And apparently having a cathedral makes it a city!

Hólar is located in the Hjaltadalur valley, some 379 km (235.50 mi) from the national capital at Reykjavík. Hólar has a population of around 100. Hólar is the site of the main campus of Holar University College, a site of historical buildings and archeological excavation, home to the Center for the history of the Icelandic horse, Hólar cathedral and the turf house Nýibær. The first printing press in Iceland was introduced to Hólar in 1530. Hólar Agricultural College was founded 1882.

Hólar is now the seat of one of two ordaining bishops in Iceland.  The other one is seated at Skalholt, the original episcopal seat (1056-1801).  The episcopal seat has been the capital of the country since 1801. The Hjaltadalur valley was the perfect place because of its ideal location along trails in the mountain passes and proximity to the ocean. The current church was said to be constructed in 1763, making it the oldest stone church in Iceland. It was built of stone taken from the mountain Hólabyrða, which towers above Hólar. The thorough restoration that took place during1988–1990, bringing it back to its original state, makes it a museum piece in its own right. Amongst its many treasures, new and old, is the beautifully carved altarpiece, presented by Jón Arason, the last catholic bishop, around 1520. There is also a carved font made of stone from Greenland and many other beautiful art pieces.

The cathedral is quite small, but amazing on the inside. In the background, you can see the triptych gold alterpiece.

The cathedral is quite small, but amazing on the inside. In the background, you can see the triptych gold altarpiece.

 

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