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Learning about the history and landscape of Iceland :: WRAL.com

The Icelandair flight from RDU to Iceland landed at the Keflavik airport early Friday morning. From there it was a full day of taking in the sights and history of Reykjavík.

The first stop on the tour was to Hallgrímskirkja. It is a Lutheran church located on a hill in the center of Reykavík. It’s 245 feet tall, making it the largest church in Iceland. The church was designed to resemble Thor’s hammer with the handle facing up as a nod to Iceland’s religious history. The view from the bell tower of the church is breathtaking. Snow-capped mountains and the ocean provide a beautiful backdrop for the buildings and homes in Reykavík.

The Imagine Peace tower was visible along the tour route. It’s an outdoor art display in memory of John Lennon located on Viðey Island. Lennon’s wife asked permission to have a memorial created for her late husband. The memorial is a tower of light symbolizing Lennon and Ono’s campaign for world peace. Inscribed on the walls is the words “imagine peace” in 24 different languages. The memorial is illuminated annually from October 9th (the date of Lennon’s death) until December 8th (the anniversary of his death.

The “Sun Voyager” is a steel sculpture on the waterfront of Reykavík. It is commonly misunderstood as a viking ship. The sculpture is actually a dream boat and an ode to the sun created by artist John Gunnar.

The last stop for the first day in Iceland was at the Perlan. It’s a landmark consisting of a restaurant in a glass dome, an observation deck, an interactive museum and park all-in-one. It includes a real ice cave guests can walk through and interactive exhibits to explore Icelandic nature and the science behind it.

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