Helgafell

Helgafell mountain in Iceland is associated with a Viking age sanctuary.

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Helgafell, standing at an elevation of 73 meters, is situated in western Iceland on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, approximately four kilometers south of Stykkishólmur. Translated as “Holy Mountain” in English, its name harks back to ancient pagan times, originating from its association with a Viking sanctuary. This explains the prevalence of mountains bearing the same name across Iceland.

Þórólfur Mostraskegg, the initial settler in 884, revered Helgafell as a sacred mountain, emphasizing the prohibition of anyone witnessing it unwashed and prohibiting any killing on its grounds, be it human or animal. He held the belief that, following their demise, he and his kin would enter the mountain. Later, Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, the central figure in the Laxdæla saga, erected a church on Helgafell and led a hermitic existence there until her passing. Guðrún’s final resting place is close to the present-day church.

According to local folklore, ascending Helgafell for the first time entitles one to three wishes. The ascent must begin from the Tomb of Guðrún, maintaining silence and refraining from sharing the wishes with others.

  • References

    image via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Helgafell_%C3%AD_Helgafellssveit_0460.jpg

Other places in Iceland