Huldufolk: the hidden people of Iceland

In Iceland, it is believed that rocks and cliffs are inhibited by elves, human-like beings with supernatural powers. According to the Nordic folklore, the Huldufolk – or hidden people – lay in another dimension, thus being invisible to the human eye. Nevertheless, they can show themselves to people or come up to them in dreams, helping, threatening or punishing them for their actions.

This belief was build upon people’s way of living in the old times: solitude, and poverty on the edge of the inhabitable world, and its people’s efforts to survive, trying to solve the most  basic needs, food and warmth.

The elf folklore is still an integral part of the Icelandic culture and identity, and remains present in the popular belief. As a result, the Icelandic cities have been built and modeled in order to preserve the rocks, as destroying them would mean to face the fury and vengeance of its hidden inhabitants. City and nature, elves and human, past and future are, thus, in balance, creating a peculiar and unique landscape.

 

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