Núpsstaður Turf Church | Turf Houses in Iceland


Basic Information

Núpsstaður Church is a small and attractive turf church based in Fljótshverfi in South-Iceland. In the earlier days, the citizens of Iceland used to live in turf houses. There were a few turf buildings around the area including churches. There are a few of these still left in Iceland among which Núpsstaður Turf Church is one. Being historically significant, the church is closed to the visitors for preservation purposes. The area can still be explored for other good reasons.

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Núpsstaðakirkja turf church in south Iceland

Knowing the History of Turf Church

Locally known as the Núpsstaðakirkja church, this turf church is set amidst the most beautiful scenes. It is a part of the National Museum’s Historic Building Collection. There are other turf structures in the proximity too. If you are interested in the history of buildings in Iceland, you can visit this place as you may find many exciting historical anecdotes. These grass-covered outhouses are centuries old. They reflect life in the 18th and 19th century. Considering the time it was constructed in, the little turf church is in quite a good condition. Although the first church was probably constructed before the 12th century, It is believed that Núpsstaður Turf Church was built around 1660.

Núpsstaðakirkja was deconsecrated by order of the king in 1765. There are speculations that it was used as a farm church or an oratory after the incident. There are beliefs that it was used as a warehouse to store items by the travelers passing by. This is the beauty of this arctic country. Almost every locale is attached from legend or mythical tales and anecdotes that interest the explorers.

The chapel was proclaimed to its original status in 1930. It was finally re-consecrated in 1961 after the repairs happened between 1958-1960. Núpsstaður Turf Church was the first building in Iceland to be taken under the care of the National Museum of Iceland in 1930. It was declared protected. There are some old photographs available which depict the inside structure of the church. The small timber construction consists of benches for visitors. It is parted by a decorative window.

A little altar was placed inside Núpskirkja church by the National Museum of Iceland. This altar is from the 18th century and originally belonged to the church Stóra-Dalskirkja.

Núpsstaðakirkja turf church in south Iceland

Snooze for a while at the Turf Church

There are 15 houses constructed on the Núpsstaður turf farm. Four separate structures there are in utter ruins, lending the area an authentic, rustic feel. You can take a camera along to bring back the photos of these ancient structures. There are barns, outhouses, storehouses, and a cowshed. The wholesome and tranquil beauty of the countryside can be experienced to the fullest here. There are stunning mountains that surround these turf structures, Lómagnúpur being the most famous one. You can see picturesque scenes consisting of massive pillars of rock.

Before the Ring Road was opened in 1974, the farmers living here helped travelers cross the unbridged rivers of Skeiðarársandur sandplain and glaciers. This place also reflects the spirit of Icelandic citizens who are always welcoming towards foreigners. It is not an easy task to cross the rivers in Iceland, yet it was made possible by the spirit of these farmers. Needless to say, your trip to this beautiful, spiritual place is going to be nothing short of an enlightening and peaceful experience.

Activities in the area

Núpsstaðakirkja turf church in south Iceland

Núpsstaðir Turf church on a map

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