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The Ægissíða Caves

Many believe that the man-made caves in Ægissíða date from before Norse settlement in Iceland and that Celtic monks resided there. One of those who believed this theory was poet Einar Benediktsson, who recruited painter Kjarval to sketch the etchings on the wall. He also got Matthías Jochumson, the parish pastor at Oddi, to conduct a mass in Kirkjuhellir.

A total of twelve caves are known in the Ægissíða farmland. Several are currently accessible, but most are either closed or dangerous to access. All the caves are privately owned, so they cannot be accessed without the permission of the occupants.

For years, the caves have been a popular destination for travellers, with the most popular of them being Fjóshellir. Fjóshellir consists of a tall and wide dome. The ceiling is higher at the end of the cave, and its shape is reminiscent of an altar or chapel. There is an embossed cross on the middle of the cave wall, an indication that Christians dwelt there.

The caves have not yet been dated with any accuracy, and scholars disagree as to whether the caves can reasonably be assumed to pre-date the settlement period.

For years, the caves were used as shelter for livestock or to store hay. Fjóshellir was used as a barn for the Ægissíða cowshed. The cave was linked to the cowshed by rail, and the hay was pulled in a cart along the tracks.

The Ægissíða Caves
GPS Points N63° 50' 16.127" W20° 24' 25.551"
Postal code

851

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Map Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík Vestmannaeyjar Hvolsvöllur Flúðir Laugarvatn Reykholt Laugarás Borg Brautarholt Hveragerði Árnes Selfoss Hella Stokkseyri Eyrarbakki Þykkvibær Þórlákshöfn