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HomeIceland TravelThe Peculiar Rútshellir Collapse South Iceland​

The Peculiar Rútshellir Collapse South Iceland​

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

In South Iceland, by the gorgeous Eyjafjöll mountains a number of man-made caves may be discovered. One among them is simply by ring-road one and thus simply accessible.

The cave is positioned in a peculiar, large tuff pillar of rock. There are historical habitations within the rock and a cave known as Rútshellir cave or the Cave of Rútur

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

As soon as once I visited Rútshellir, I discovered a lifeless sheep contained in the cave – the odor was overwhelming. After we handed Rútshellir on our means again two days later, a ram was standing proudly on the highest of the turf sheepcote. It was fairly a powerful sight.

There are two man-made caves within the rock. The principle cave is arched and a minimum of 20 meters lengthy and a pair of.5 meters excessive on common. It was used as an outhouse, for storing hay, and at a sure time, stockfish was saved on this cave. Individuals may also have lived within the cave.

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

Inside Rútshellir cave

There are some constructions in entrance of the cave, an previous sheepcote, first constructed round 1917, so it seems like any person lives within the rock.

These constructions have been rebuilt, so now they seem like this:

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

The smaller cave is named Stúkan. The floorage is 8.05 x 2.40 m2. It might need been a heathen temple, but it surely may also have been a smithy. A gap connects the 2 caves.

In a single place you will see that a cross carved into the sandstone. It wasn’t till my third go to to the cave that I seen the cross. Can you notice it in my picture under? You will note it on the higher stage above the “mattress”.

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland - inside photos

Inside Rútshellir cave

The story goes that the person Rútur lived within the man-made cave, some say he was an evil troll, others say he was a looter, and different folks say he was an evil chieftain. The folks on this area attacked him and killed him by making a gap within the cave beneath his mattress. They then ran him via with spears, whereas he was in mattress. 

Others say that they made a gap within the cave from exterior and ran him via that gap with spears and killed him. They have been too afraid of him to need to meet him out within the area.

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland - inside

Inside Rútshellir cave

After killing him they have been nonetheless afraid of him despite the fact that he was lifeless and considered one of his killers, Björn, ran away as much as the mountain, Bjarnarfell, which bears his title ever since, and yet one more fled into the wilderness of Iceland. 

(Translated into English from Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar – the Compilation of Folklore by Jón Árnason)
Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

Icelandic horses operating by Rútshellir cave

However on the web site of Katla Geopark, I discovered one other model of this legend:

One such legend entails a person known as Rút and his slaves who wished to kill him. They proceeded to carve a gap underneath the ledge the place Rút slept, so they might, in a while, kill him with spears whereas he was sleeping. One evening after arriving dwelling, as he ready to sleep, he found their plot to kill him. He chased the slaves into the mountains and killed all of them; Sebbi by Sebbasteinn rock, Högni by Högnaklettur rock, Ingimundur by Ingimund rock, Björn by Mt. Bjarnarfell, however these are all recognized names within the neighborhood of the cave. The final slave, Guðni was killed on the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, and this place is named right now Guðnasteinn or Guðni’s stone“.

I’m wondering which considered one of these two legends is extra correct? 

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

Rútshellir cave

In 1936, Nazis from the SS-troops, Ahnenerbe, appear to have investigated Rútshellir completely. Ahnenerbe was a science educational wing in Nordic science underneath the command of Heinrich Himmler. 

They have been very a lot into the thought of the sturdy, pure Nordic race and have been in search of ruins of previous temples in Iceland. They thought that there might need been such an previous temple in Rútshellir.

The Nazis made a radical description of the cave, they usually preferred to imagine, true or false, that the cave had certainly been a sophisticated heathen temple.

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland - inside photos

Inside Rútshellir cave again in 2015

They got here up with the concept that the big cave had been the banquet corridor, the place the Vikings had sat by the longfire. And that the smaller cave had been used for the rites and providing of animals. 

However falsifications have been made and Paul Burkert, who had been despatched to Iceland on a analysis expedition, was thrown out of the SS-troops and disadvantaged of the grants he had received.

Rútshellir cave in South-Iceland

Carved stiles by Rútshellir cave

Some folks have seen gentle within the rock, main us to imagine that Hidden Individuals stay right here.

​The rock is preserved and is listed on the Pure Heritage Register.

One can cease to take photographs right here and enter the cave Rútshellir. 

There may be an data signal by the street and new, carved stiles by way of which one can go from the parking to the cave.

Rútshellir cave

Rútshellir collapse 2020

Slabs have additionally been added which lead like a path to the cave. I really like this new addition 🙂

Let’s at all times be respectful and tread evenly and go away nothing behind however footprints.

The information sign by Rútshellir cave

The data signal by Rútshellir cave

To succeed in this space, you’ll be able to both hire a automotive in Reykjavík for a day or two.

Additionally, try the hottest guided excursions of the South Coast of Iceland:

The rock is positioned some 3 km west of Skógafoss waterfall by ring-road 1. GPS: N63° 31′ 35.245″ W19° 33′ 3.601″. 

Near Rútshellir cave, just a bit additional east, you will see that one other comparable rock known as Drangurinn in Drangshlíð, about which I’ve written one other travel-blog, as there are elves in that rock!

Drangurinn in Drangshlíð and the Elves within the Rock

And if you wish to go to extra caves in Iceland then I’ve written a travel-blog with all my favorite caves in Iceland:

A Native’s Favorite Caves in Iceland

Have a stunning time in South-Iceland! 🙂

Ref: Manngerðir hellar á Íslandi by Árni Hjartarson, Guðmund J. Guðmundsson og Hallgerður Gísladóttir

Mannvist: Birna Lárusdóttir



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