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Budget Travel Ranks Hallgrimskirkja in Top Ten Most Beautiful Churches

Hallgrimskirkja ChurchFrom Budget Travel:

Church of Hallgrímur - Reykjavík, Iceland
No matter where you are in Iceland's capital city, chances are you'll be able to spot the towering steeple of this most unusual concrete structure. At 244 feet tall, the Church of Hallgrímur—or Hallgrímskirkja, as locals call it—is the tallest building in Reykjavík and the largest church in all of Iceland. Viewed head on, Hallgrímur resembles a jagged arrowhead or spaceship, erupting from the ground. The design is meant to conjure the rugged mountains, volcanic basalt, and glacial landscapes of Iceland's supernatural scenery. Hallgrímur was under construction for over 30 years and finally completed in 1974, inspiring much controversy along the way thanks to its radical form. And while the architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, did not live to see the church's completion, he'd surely be honored by its presence on nearly every Reykjavík postcard. For a small fee, you can ride an elevator up into the steeple for fabulous views across the capital and out to the Atlantic (rides are 500 Icelandic króna—or about $4.40—per person). The minimalist interior is in keeping with the church's Lutheran heritage, save for one bold element: an enormous organ with some 5,000 pipes that tower up to 50 feet high.

How to go: Hallgrímur is centrally located downtown in Reykjavík. There is a suggested donation of 50 kr (about 44¢) for entry.

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