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Skálholt

Location

Skálholt (Old Icelandic: Skálaholt) is a historical site in the south of Iceland, at the river Hvítá. Skálholt was, through eight centuries, one of the most important places in Iceland. From 1056 until 1785, it was one of Iceland’s two episcopal sees, along with Hólar, making it a cultural and political center. Iceland’s first official school, Skálholtsskóli (now Reykjavík Gymnasium, MR), was founded at Skálholt in 1056 to educate clergy.

Check out our Travel tips and Tours on the South Coast of Iceland

In 1992 the seminary in Skálholt was re-instituted under the old name and now serves as the education and information center of the Church of Iceland. Throughout the Middle Ages there was significant activity in Skálholt; alongside the bishop’s office, the cathedral, and the school, there was extensive farming, a smithy, and, while Catholicism lasted, a monastery. Continuing as the episcopal see after the Reformation to Lutheranism, the end of Catholicism in Iceland was marked in 1550 when the last Catholic bishop, Jón Arason of Hólar, was executed in Skálholt along with his two sons. Many cultural events such as concerts are held in Skálholt. Foremost of these is the Summer Concerts program in July, in which prominent classical musicians, choirs and other musicians are invited to perform.