Úlfljótsvatn Church

Ulfljotsvatn, Iceland | C.1914

Photo Credit: Rares Peicu

Úlfljótsvatnskirkja, or Úlfljótsvatn Church, is a Catholic church perched at the edge of Lake Úlfljótsvatn, aka Ugly Wolf Lake. Though every village in Iceland has at least one church, this building is unique due to its proportionally extra-large steeple. 

The wooden church was built in 1914 on the same spot as the ancient churches, on a headland entering the western part of the lake. The characteristic steeple was added in 1924. But the small village cemetery and the village itself are much older. The lake and the surrounding area are named after Úlfljótur, an important man who was involved in the Icelandic Parliament, known as Althingi, in 930.

Catholic churches here were dedicated to Mary, Holy Mother of Christ, and the church is served by the Reverend at Mosfell in Grimsnes County. Though the history of the church building is sparse, there are nonetheless many records of several generations of church lead singers and organists who led the congregation in worship. 

The building became a protected monument in 1990. Today, there is at least one company that plans Icelandic dream weddings at the church, and the village still holds service there. 

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