Harpa Concert Hall – Explore the Vibrant City Life in Reykjavik


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Iceland has always been a dream destination for travelers who wish to experience nature up and close. This heavenly place attracts environmentalists, travel seekers, and adventure freaks from across the world. This all-year-round destination is known as a place of Fire and Ice owing to the presence of majestic glaciers, massive human-sized icebergs, brutal weather conditions, staggering waterfalls, black sand beaches accompanied by the steaming geysers, and massive lava-covered fields. Now, these natural things and destinations might attract you to a greater extent but have you explored the vibrant Icelandic city life yet? Well, at Harpan Concert Hall you are sure to experience something that you might have not imagined. Don’t forget to experience this side of Iceland. So, let’s explore a bit more about Harpan Concert Hall.

Harpa concert hall in downtown Reykjavik

Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre

The stunning and distinctive colored glass façade, which is inspired by the beautiful and gorgeous basalt landscape of Iceland. Harpa is the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, and is the most distinguished landmarks in Iceland that opened in 2011; the opening concert was held on May 4, 2011, and shows a variety of events with all musical genres. It is indeed a social and cultural Centre, which is located in the heart of the city featuring spectacular views of the surrounding area including the North Atlantic Ocean and the mountains. This state-of-the-art conference center was designed by Olafur Eliasson, Henning Larssen architects, and Batteri architects and is a residency of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, The Icelandic Opera, and Reykjavik Big Band as well. This center has attracted millions of guests since its opening and is perfect for intrigued travelers seeking to closely explore different aspects of Iceland. The conference and concert hall boasting its grand-scale award-winning architecture is a must-visit place in Iceland. 

Harpa is home to several regular shows, few of them includes the How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes – Bowie: The Session – The Icelandic Emigration Centre Exhibit – Pearls of Icelandic Songs – Reykjavík Classics – Mulinn Jazz Club – Icelandic Sagas: The Greatest Hits – The Tin Drum Series

Harpa concert hall in downtown Reykjavik

How the Centre Was Named “Harpa”?

If you noticed, the name “Harpa” is really simple to pronounce and is not like other Icelandic words that seem to be a tongue twister for most of the travelers and visitors. This name was made public on 11 December 2009 and “Harpa” was the winning name that was selected from 4,156 proposals sent by 1200 citizens. Though the name is in Icelandic but is comparatively easier to spell and pronounce. Harpa is easily articulated in most languages and this was the motive behind choosing this name. This age-old Icelandic word denotes a time of year, which is a month in the old Nordic calendar. The first day of that month is celebrated to be the first day of summer, which is believed to be the beginning of a brighter time when nature comes. There is another meaning to the word Harpa – an instrument, which refers to activities and operations within.

It was actually a girl from our Iceland Travel Guide team who named Harpan Concert Hall. Her name is Harpa and she used to study piano. She was only 10 years old when naming the concert hall. Now she mainly focuses on traveling around her country taking incredible photos and videos from all over Iceland. 

Awards Received

This marvelous piece of architecture has managed to grab several awards and few of them include the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2013, which was specifically for the architecture. Apart from this, Harpa has been awarded the prestigious MICE Report award, which was for the best conference Centre in Northern Europe. The prestigious music magazine – Gramophone magazine, selected Harpa as one of the best concert halls of the new millennium. Travel & Leisure magazine selected Harpa as the best performance venue in 2011. Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre is indeed one of the best places for conferences and concerts in Northern Europe.

Harpa concert hall in downtown Reykjavik

Map of Harpan Concert Hall

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