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Local stories

The giant Lomagnupur is both a seer and wise. Iron staff in hand, he has stood watch here on Lómagnúpur mountain from the time of settlement

Local stories

Folk tale: The story of Katla the hag and her magic breeches

Folk tale: The story of Katla the hag and her magic breeches

Þykkvabæjarklaustur monastery in the locality of Álftaver was established by Bishop Klængur in 1169. The monastery would have a long and distinguished history and its first abbot was St Þorlákur, Iceland´s patron saint.
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A strange corpse washed ashore at Meðalland district

A strange corpse washed ashore at Meðalland district

Iceland is a seafaring nation and through the ages many have lost their lives taking on the trecherous seas of the North Atlantic. It was not uncommon for the bodies of those drowned at sea to be washed ashore on the beaches of Meðalland on the south coast
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A kind deed well repaid by the hidden people

A kind deed well repaid by the hidden people

For many centuries in Iceland there has been a strong belief in the hidden people or elves who are said to inhabit rocks and hills. There are many stories about the hidden people and their interaction with humans. It was sometimes the case that the hidden people would seek help from neighbouring humans when for example an elf woman was experiencing a difficult birth.
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The eruption of Katla in 1918

The eruption of Katla in 1918

The notorious volcano Katla woke briefly from its slumber in the summer of 2011. Molten magma pouring from the crater deep beneath the Mýrdal glacier resulted in a glacial flood that swept away the bridge across the Múlakvísl river. With the bridge gone the main ring road around the country was ruptured. And this right in the middle of the tourist season. But in true Icelandic spirit the road authorities had gangs out working 24 hours and a new bridge was in place within a week. The eruption showed that Katla, one of Iceland´s most destructive volcanoes, is still very much alive beneath the glacier.
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The great sandstorm of 1944

The great sandstorm of 1944

In Iceland storms are most frequently associated with snow. However for those living on the country´s south coast it can also mean sand storms. Through the ages many farms had to be abandoned on the south coast due to sand blowing inland and smothering vegetation and homesteads. The damage was most widespread in the district of Meðalland where over twenty farms were abandoned. After 1900 attempts were made to tackle the threat from encroaching sand by fencing off specific areas and planting lyme grass.
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The author Jón Björnsson from Holt farm

The author Jón Björnsson from Holt farm

Holt farm was a cultured home that had a fine collection of books. In 1907 a boy was born there by the name of Jón Björnsson. In later life Björnsson went on to become a well-known writer in Scandinavia. His first stories had already been published before he left for Denmark in 1930 to study Danish and literature.
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Sæmundur Hólm the artist

Sæmundur Hólm the artist

A remarkable feature of this area is the number of notable artists it has produced. One such individual was Kjarval, a fine 20th century landscape artist who often came to paint in the locality. When he stayed at Kirkjubæjarklaustur there was a young lad who became his regular companion, wishing to learn all he could from the master. In later life this boy went abroad to study art and would achieve international acclaim under the name Erró.
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Iceland's patron saint Þorlákur Þórhallsson

Iceland's patron saint Þorlákur Þórhallsson

Saint Þorlákur is Iceland´s only saint. His feast day is the 23rd of December, the day of his death in 1193. That day Icelanders traditionally celebrate by eating fermented skate, a dish certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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The hospital ship St. Paul: The finest ship lost off the south coast of Iceland

The hospital ship St. Paul: The finest ship lost off the south coast of Iceland

The Saint Paul was indeed an elegant vessel. A three-masted sailing ship with a small engine and a crew of twenty. With a fully equipped hospital and medical staff its function was to provide medical assistance to the numerous French vessels fishing off Iceland´s coasts. The ship was from Le Harve and was spending its third season in Icelandic waters. The Saint Paul had assisted many fishermen the previous year and the crews and their families were most grateful for this service.
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The Stranding of Het Wapen Van Amsterdam in 1667

The Stranding of Het Wapen Van Amsterdam in 1667

The giant remembers well when that fine ship ran aground here on the sands not far from Lómagnúpur mountain on the 19th of Sept.1667. The vessel was coming from the island of Java laden with gold, pearls, diamonds, silver, copper, silk, spices and other precious items. The vessel was recently built and one of the finest in the Dutch fleet. Caught in a fierce storm the ship ran aground while other vessels in the convoy were blown off course in the raging Atlantic Ocean.
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The Giant of Mt. Lómagnúpur

The Giant of Mt. Lómagnúpur

The giant is both a seer and wise. Iron staff in hand, he has stood watch here on Lómagnúpur mountain from the time of settlement and is the guardian spirit of the country´s south coast. Throughout time he has observed as men settled the land and had to contend with various misfortunes. He can see over the entire countryside and far out to sea. Nothing misses his watchful gaze. You can listen to his tales through this website.
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Division

Friður og frumkraftar  |  Kt. 411009-2620  | Klausturvegi 2  |  880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur  |  Tel +354 8676942  | visitklaustur@visitklaustur.is

Vatnajokull national park       Katla Geopark       Kirkjubæjarstofa      Visit South Iceland     Inspired by Iceland     Icelandic Tourist Board    

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