On my travels in Iceland, I always seek out places connected to folklore. There is a myriad of such stories in Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - the Folklore of Jón Árnason, which is one of my favourite read, all 5 volumes of it!
While I was travelling in East-Iceland I visited several such places, one of them being Dvergasteinn - the Rock of the Dwarfs - which is folklore related to a very peculiar rock in Vestdalseyri just outside of Seyðisfjörður town.
The rock has got several big holes in it, eroded by the ocean. One was big enough for me to stick my head into it. But one should show utter respect around such rocks as to not disturb their inhabitants, be it elves or dwarfs.
Because there is more to the world than what we are able to see - or at least that is my belief :)
The story goes like this:
"The vicarage of Seyðisfjörður was in the olden times located east of the fjord. The name of it is not mentioned. In the vicinity of the vicarage there stood a big rock. People believed that dwarfs lived in that rock and was it thus called Dvergasteinn or the Rock of the Dwarfs.
As time passed the church and the church place were considered to be inconveniently located and were moved across the fjord. The rock was, of course, left behind. But as the new church building was about to be finished, the workers spotted a house sailing over the fjord heading straight for the church.
The house (as it seemed to the workers) continued its sailing and came ashore where it stopped. The workers then noticed that it was the Dvergasteinn - the Rock of the Dwarfs, with its inhabitants - the dwarfs!
It seems that they didn't like it when the church moved away and decided on moving with the church, but from then on - in the everlasting memory of the piety of the dwarfs - the vicarage was called Dvergasteinn".
(Translated into English from Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - the Folklore of Jón Árnason).
The church was located until 1920 in Vestdalseyri, but as the population decreased it was moved from Dvergasteinn across the fjord.
The old church was dismantled and a new church was erected in Fjarðaralda in Seyðisfjörður village from the material of the old church.
That new church was consecrated in 1922. You can see it in the photo above, the beautiful blue painted church of Seyðisfjörður, often referred to as the blue church. The vicarage was then moved from Dvergasteinn to the village some years later.
The story goes that the church and the rock had stood side by side. The church moved but Dvergasteinn rock remained in its current place.
You can see Seyðisfjörður village in the distance across the fjord in my photo above. It looks like Dvergasteinn rock is looking at the village beckoning it.
The rock stands by the seashore and by the road there is a sign with information both in Icelandic and English. Wooden steps lead over a fence and a ca 7 minutes easy walk over the land of the farmer down to the ocean where the rock is located. It is well worth popping down there to have a look at the rock.
This kind of rock formation is called honeycomb weathering or tafoni. It is not quite clear how these strange formations are formed, but they might be formed by frost, salt, or wind erosion. But they sure look interesting.
Dvergasteinn rock is located 3 km outside of Seyðisfjörður village by road no 951. GPS: N65° 17' 23.292" W13° 55' 46.280"
To reach Seyðisfjörður you can rent a car in Reykjavík and drive up there in a couple of days. There is plenty to see on the way, so allow yourself at least 2-3 days to reach this location. Also check out the Ring-road and the East fjords - 11 Day Self Drive Tour with a car, accommodation, and a detailed itinerary included.
Once in the Eastfjords check out these guided tours:
Have a lovely time in East-Iceland :)