Iceland is an old country and has had churches for over 1000 years, but the Protestant churches you’ll see if you visit are typically 50-150 years old. I stopped at a few as I passed them in various parts of the island, but have limited information on each. Although there are still a healthy number of churches standing, Iceland has become decreasingly religious over the decades, and I didn’t see any in use while visiting.
Here are a few spotted along the way.
Hvalsneskirkja Church in the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland. Renovated 1945, original 1887.
An Icelandic church located in northern Iceland.
Stóruborgarkirkja was moved here from a nearby ancient church site, Klausturhólum, in 1931. Stora-Borg is in south Iceland and is surrounded by a small cemetery.
Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík (Icelandic: The Free Church in Reykjavik). The church was established in 1899, with this building constructed in 1903.
Small wooden church in the south part of the island (Núpsstaður,). It’s believed to be the oldest chapel remaining in Iceland, dating from the 17th century.
St. John’s Anglican is a carpenter gothic style church in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Although it’s been around since 1753 and is the second oldest existing Protestant church in Canada, the building was nearly destroyed by fire in 2001. It took several years to restore and was re-opened in 2005. You can see how significant the damage was here – http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nslssgs/stjohn.htm
I found this church (also known as Duncan Church) through the National Register of Historic Places. It’s located in Gann Valley, South Dakota and was built in 1927. It’s design is basic, two panel doors open into a central aisle flanked by a column of pews. The Parish was founded in 1887 and the original church was destroyed by a tornado in 1924.
Harmony Friends Church is located in Wessington Springs, South Dakota. On the afternoon I drove by there wasn’t anyone around, but the church was unlocked. A simple church on the inside, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. The church building was constructed in 1913 and is the last church of the Society of Friends standing in its original location.
Exterior, Harmony Friends Church, Wessington Springs, South Dakota (Jerauld County), 1913
Interior, Harmony Friends Church, Wessington Springs, South Dakota (Jerauld County), 1913
I found this Grand Pré , Nova Scotia church just before sunset. The New England meeting house style church dates from the beginning of the 1800’s and is the oldest remaining Presbyterian church in Canada. It became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925 and today still holds services during the summer months.
Covenanter’s Presbyterian Church, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, Canada, Constructed 1811
Cemetery, Covenanter’s Presbyterian Church, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, Canada, Constructed 1811
As projects go, this is a young one. Back in 2013 I stumbled on some photos online of old and historic churches that caught my eye. I occasionally photographed churches, but usually they were ornate cathedrals or other landmarks. The photos I saw online were of older, mostly small rural churches, and would often be a little run down. That sparked my curiosity and I’ve been able to track down hundreds of interesting old churches since then. Generally I try to add these historic churches to the route when I’m traveling for vacation. The blog is simply to share some photos and a little bit more detail (if available) on those I’ve found…