Although sod-topped structures may seem like fairy tale buildings straight out of The Hobbit, the architectural practice of building grass-roofed homes actually goes back for centuries – especially in areas with harsh winter weather. Finding these original structures is near impossible, however, visitors to Southwest Iceland can still visit the fascinating green-roofed Hofskirkja church, built in 1884.

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According to local records, the Hofskirkja church was built in 1884 with a timber frame and stone walls. The roof is made of stone slabs covered by natural turf. The practice of covering roofs in greenery was a common way to protect the homes and their residents from Iceland’s bitingly cold winters.

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The Hofskirkja church, which still serves as a parish church, was the last turf church built in the traditional Icelandic style. It is one of six churches in Iceland that are preserved as historical monuments and it’s maintained by the National Museum of Iceland.

Via Iceland Mag

Images via Creative Commons