Tracing Njáll's Saga

By Natalie Guttormsson


As I was browsing through our blog archives, I stumbled across a post written by Sunna Furstenau - Icelandic Roots founder and genealogist extraordinaire - about her epic tour around Iceland back in 2012. (Read her article here)


I stopped at the farmstead, Keldur, which is the only big turf house in the southern part of Iceland. The National Museum takes care of it. The farmhouse has strong connections to the wonderful Icelandic Saga – Njáll´s Saga.
Also, one of our famous and powerful ancestors, Jón Loftsson, also lived at Keldur and is buried there. He is my 19th Great Grandfather. - Sunna

My family and I recently toured Southern Iceland with Tour Guide and Icelandic Roots volunteer, Kent Björnsson. Because my husband is in the Medieval Icelandic Studies - Graduate Program at the University of Iceland, whenever the opportunity arises to see locations from the Sagas, we take it!


Like Sunna, we also stopped at Keldur, however our toddler had fallen asleep, so I opted to wait with him in the jeep while my husband and Kent explored the farmstead. I only got to take a photo of the information board, so I enjoyed looking at Sunna's photos of the farm.


There are many important locations from Njáll's Saga in this area.


Here are a few photos to inspired you to visit the next time you're in Iceland, or perhaps to read Njáll's saga, if you haven't already!



**The following photos and captions contain spoilers to Njáll's Saga**



If you're a fan of epic stories of revenge, political espionage, and magic like Game of Thrones and The Witcher series, you'll probably enjoy reading the Saga's. One of the most well-known ones is Njáll's Saga.


The rock pictured at the right is known as Gunnarssteinn. It is the location where Njáll's best friend Gunnar and two of his sons fought off 30 men! This location is a bit west of Keldur.







Bergþórshvoll is just south of Keldur, and is the location of Njáll's farm that was burned down, killing Njáll and his family. Beyond the information sign on the right you can see the volcano Hekla (just to the left of the right sign post) and the 3 peaked mountain, Þríhyrningur, just to the right of the right sign post. (If you were to look to the right, you would see the Eyjafjallajökull, and even further to the right, you'd see the ocean and the Westmann Islands in the distance).



This is the view of Þríhyrningur (the mountain with 3 peaks) from the Keldur homestead. After killing Njáll and burning his farm, the character known as Flossi, hid on this mountain to avoid revenge enacted against him.

Þríhyrningur behind the farmstead of Keldur


The four locations mentioned are underlined in green on the map below, so you can get a sense of the proximity to each other.


So tell us, have you read Njáll's Saga? Any of the others? Which is your favourite? Tell us in the comments or come find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IcelandicRoots


For a summary of Njáll's Saga, you can read the Wikipedia article here.


If you love the sagas too, you can plan a future trip to Iceland around famous locations with this interesting map: http://sagamap.hi.is/is/

Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

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