A while back, I presented you with a teaser with some images of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, which provides an incredible variety for photography, ranging from stunning landscapes to history and wildlife.
Today, I’ll highlight one of the early encounters on our trip: Búðakirkja in the town of Búðir.
This is one of a set of so-called ‘black’ churches in Iceland, which stand apart from many other churches due to their exterior being covered with tar pitch, so that they could better withstand the elements.
Búðakirkja was built originally in 1703, when it was a small turf church with a cemetery to provide consecrated grounds; burials have taken place here since 1705. Due to the rough weather and economics, the church fell into disrepair and was abolished by royal letter in 1816 due to its poor condition.
In the mid-19th century, a local widow, Steinunn Sveinsdóttir, applied for permission from Church authorities to rebuild a church at Búðir. Her efforts led and paid for the building of the wooden church that we know today.
Construction of the church finished in 1848, and it was consecrated in 1851. Steinunn passed away in 1854 at the age of 77 years; she is buried in Búðir cemetery, where a gravestone still stands in her memory.
The church itself is rather small, as it measures approximately 9m x 5m, which is a single space; it seats about 50 people and is still available for ceremonies. Just be aware that there is no heating or running water in the church, so you may have to rough it a bit.
Visiting this location definitely provided me with a sense of mystery and a deep appreciation for the people who made (and make) this area their home. It takes dedication, perseverance and faith to be successful in this rugged land.
More details about the church can be found at its website link.