Skaftafell National Park – Highway thru Kirkjubaejarklaustur.
Photo by: plassen, Creative Commons

In 1973, Mt. Laki erupted. It was catastrophic; lava came down from the mountains and destroyed farms and bridges. However, for some reason, the lava flow unexpectedly stopped at site near a small church. The locals believed that it is their faith that saved them, and named the town Kirkjubaejarklaustur, which, when translated roughly, means “church farm cloister”. To this day, the edge of that flow can still be sighted in the nearby village.

One of the attractions in Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Iceland is the Steingrímsson memorial chapel, which was named after the pastor whose sermon was believed to be the reason why the town was spared. Another is the Kirkjugólf, a hexagonal formation of basalt rocks which looks like a platform or a foundation of some sort.

Just outside Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Iceland is the Systrafoss, a waterfall and Systrastapi (the Sisters’ Pillar), where two nuns were burned at the stake and was buried, or so, the story goes. You would also get a view of quaint farms and villages.

Most tourists drop by Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Iceland as part of their itinerary when visiting the Laki craters – the very same craters that resulted from the 1783 eruption. If you want to really go “deep”, you need to use a four-wheel drive for transportation because the road is rather rough. Not very far from the site of the craters is the Fjarðrargljúfur canyon, which can be accessed by a smaller vehicle. Seen from above, the view of rock formations is a treat to the eyes.

Iceland has a lot to offer – a rich culture, an active night life, great fishing spots, whale-watching and bird watching sites. However, it’s the breathtaking natural beauty that draws people from all over. If you visit Kirkjubaejarklaustur, you will see a see a slice of heaven that is Iceland.

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