Hole Nr. 12 Cave

Useful Information

Location: Heimeay island, Vestmannaeyjar. On the golf course, hole nr. 12. (63.437853, -20.294281)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologylava cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Bibliography: Anon (1948): Ferðabók F.Í., p. 119-124
Address: Hundraðmannahellir.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Hundraðmannahellir (Hundred Man Cave or Cave of the Hundred) is a historic or archaeological cave. There is an explanatory sign with the Icelandic and English explanation. During the Turkish invasion of 1627 the locals were hiding from Algerian pirates in the cave. According to legend one hundred people were hiding here, hence the name. Unfortunately they were found by the invaders, because of a dog who was sleeping outside and was snoring.

This cave is pretty small and the soil that has accumulated in the cave mouth makes a visit quite annoying. It is necessary to crawl through the mud to reach the inner chamber which is high enough to stand, if you are not large. Today only 20 or 30 people fit into the cave. Probably the cave was much bigger 400 years ago, .

The Vestmannaeyjar Pirate Raids are a historic fact. In July 1627, Algerian pirates raided the defenceless Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). After only three days 36 people were dead, including a priest. They also abducted 242 inhabitants to be sold as slaves in North Africa. One of them was the priest Olafur Egilsson who was later released and returned to Copenhagen. He pleaded for ransom funds from the King of Denmark. At the end 27 Icelanders were able to return home ten years after their capture thanks to his efforts.