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Skálholt

Skálholtsskóli - the center for education, culture and dialogue of church and society - welcomes individuals and families as well as larger groups of different kinds for a longer or shorter stay all year round, offering housing accomodation and restaurant service.
In the summer Skálholt is a much visited place for tourists of many nationalities, some only looking around for a while or staying for a good meal or a cup of coffee in the restaurant. But Skálholtsskóli is also an ideal place for meetings, conferences and similar events during the winter.

Skálholt is 93 km from Reykjavík, very close to Geysir, Gullfoss, Thingvellir and other key tourist attractions.
We offer excellent facilities for conferences, workshops, retreats and educational and cultural tourism.

Full accommodation is provided for up to 44 people in single and double rooms with and without private bath. An adjacent camp within short walking distance (4-5 min.) can accommodate 33 people in simpler housing at lower rates.

The dining hall can serve 120 people and offers, among other things, traditional Icelandic food made by recipes from the 12th century.
The conference room seats 60-70 people and can be divided into three smaller rooms.

Today, Skálholt is visited for the new cathedral, the tomb of bishops, the museum and thirteen century tunnel leading out to the excavations of the old bishopric and school.

The Cathedral is also renowned for its Summer Music Festival starting in 1975 and attracting many skilled musicians and lots of music lovers. Besides, many choirs, Icelandic and foreign visit Skálholt to perform in the Cathedral because of its excellent acoustics and artistic surroundings.

The Skálholt Center (Skálholtsskóli) is a cultural and educational center and offers excellent facilities for seminars, conferences and cultural tourism. It is also a place for retreats, sometimes silent, during the peaceful winter time. In the summer it is becoming again a place of pilgrimage with a center of pilgrimage all year round. The Center offers accommodation and food for visitors and tourists.

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Skálholt

Biskupstungnahreppur

GPS Points N64° 7' 33.405" W20° 31' 33.852"
Telephone

+354 486-8870

Fax

486-8994

Travel directory for Skálholt

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Dilkur
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History and Culture
0.05 km
Skalholt Church

Situated in the lower part of the Biskupstungur valley between the rivers Hvítá and Brúará, Skálholt is one of Iceland's places of special historical interest. For seven centuries it was the scene of the most dramatic events which shaped the political, spiritual and cultural life in Iceland. Its early history is traced back to the 11th century when religious disputes were at their sharpest in Iceland. Within two centuries of the settlement of Iceland, the first bishopric was founded at Skálholt in 1056 for South Iceland, and soon a second at Hólar in 1109 for North Iceland.

The man who chose Skálholt as the site of the first Episcopal see in Iceland was Ísleifur (1006 - 1080), son of Gissur the White. Skálholt had earlier been his patrimonial estate and his grandfather, Teitur Ketilbjarnarson, was the first settler there. According to an old account, Skálholt was at that time "the largest town in Iceland". Ísleifur's father, who was a wealthy aristocrat and a redoubtable political figure as well, played a decisive role in the Christianization of Iceland and the future status of the church. He built the first church in Iceland at Skálholt around the year 1000.

In the 12th century bishop Klængur Þorsteinsson built a great cathedral at Skálholt. It was a sumptuous edifice made of timber shipped from Norway. For centuries Skálholt was the centre of learning and culture in Iceland, a status which lasted up to the Reformation in 1550.

In 1954, a team of archaeologists, while digging up the foundations of the old cathedral, came upon a sarcophagus which was believed to contain the skeleton of Páll Jónsson, one of the most powerful bishops of Skálholt. His sarcophagus, together with a few relics found at the scene, is now on display in an underground vault beneath the new memorial church built during 1956-1963 on the site of the old cathedral. All churches in Scandinavia contributed financially to its construction.

The last Catholic bishop of Iceland, Jón Arason, was executed at Skálholt in 1550, along with his two sons. He had opposed the Reformation imposed upon Iceland by King Christian III of Denmark. Today, a memorial stands at the site of the execution. Arason's Episcopal robes are on display at the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík.

Today, Skálholt is visited for the new cathedral, the tomb of bishops, the museum, and the collection of ancient books in the tower. A public high school is at Skálholt.

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From the historical farm Stöng, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption of Hekla in the Middle Ages and reconstructed, it is possible to hike to the waterfall along the Fossá (5 to 6 hours both directions). Above the waterfall, there is also a parking lot, so the hiking can also be made in the other direction.

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Kerið, is a 55 m deep volcanic crater, about 3000 years old. It is a part of
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Concerts have been held on a floating raft on the lake.

Concerts have been held on a floating raft on the lake.

South Iceland

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Map Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík Vestmannaeyjar Hvolsvöllur Flúðir Laugarvatn Reykholt Laugarás Borg Brautarholt Hveragerði Árnes Selfoss Hella Stokkseyri Eyrarbakki Þykkvibær Þórlákshöfn