At first glance, you might mistake this structure as a cozy hobbit hole, but Hofskirkja Church in Southwest Iceland isn’t something that came out of a Lord of the Rings set. Built in 1884, this grass-topped architectural wonder is a humble parish church in the small village of Hof in the Öraefi region of Iceland. In fact, it’s one of the six turf-style churches in the country currently being preserved as historical monuments under the management of the National Museum of Iceland.
The 19th century church is made with timber frame and stone walls, including a roof made with stone slabs covered with natural turf. In Iceland, covering roofs with grass was a common practice to protect homes and residents, including their precious livestock, from harsh winters. It was an architectural practice that started in Northern Europe during the Iron Age.
Now, finding original structures like these which we associate with hobbit-style homes, is a rarity. Hofskirkja Church was the last turf church built in the traditional Icelandic style. But thanks to the maintenance and care of the national heritage sector, this rare gem of Icelandic architecture may last for generations to come.
Read original article at Inhabitat.