• Einar Páll Svavarsson

Dverghamrar small basalt colums - home of elves


Dverghamrar small basalt columns cliffs
Dverghamrar small basalt columns cliffs

Sometimes the Icelanders find it mind-boggling to figure out how their nature and landscape ended up the way they did. Sometimes totally chaotic and menacing, and then sometimes beautifully carved and mesmerizing. Icelandic folklore will, of course, provide you with excellent explanations concocted throughout the ages; tales of trolls, giants, and elves, as well as the hidden people and the dwarfs.


Dverghamrar is in the South Region on the map of Iceland
Dverghamrar is in the South Region on the map of Iceland

Dverghamrar is one of many basalt column formations

Dverghamrar and the famous Foss (waterfall) á Síðu
Dverghamrar and the famous Foss (waterfall) á Síðu

One of Iceland's most stunning rock formations is Dverghamrar (The Dwarf Cliffs), some 10 km east of the Kirkjubæjarklaustur village right on the Ring Road. The cliffs are hexagonal columns of basalt, topped with cube-jointed basalt, shaped like a horseshoe. Inside the cliffs are home to both dwarfs and elves, according to folklore. But mind you, quite a number of Icelanders still believe it to be true, and the rest can't prove it isn't. So, Dverghamrar is treated with great respect – just to be on the safe side. You never know what those superhuman beings are capable of doing.


Folklore vs. geological explanation

Basalt columns at Dverghamrar - dwarf cliffs
Basalt columns at Dverghamrar - dwarf cliffs

Even if the Icelanders would like to tell you superhuman beings built Dverhamrar, the geologists will tell you otherwise. This extraordinary landscape is believed to have formed during the Ice Age. At the time, the sea level was much higher, and the sea waves are believed to be the force behind the peculiar façade of the rocks. Columnar basalt forms through the cooling of the lava and a build-up of contraction forces. Today Dverghamrar is a protected natural monument.


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