Pirunpesä (The Devil's Nest) – Nokia, Finland - Atlas Obscura

Pirunpesä (The Devil's Nest)

Nokia, Finland

This honeycomb-textured tafone looks like a petrified troll head. 


Pirunpesä (The Devil’s Nest) has stood in its silent vigil since glaciers left it behind as they receded during the last Ice Age. Over time, running water removed the softer stone and left the harder gneiss stone intact, creating a geological phenomenon known as tafoni. The rock is Finland’s second largest tafone specimen.

The resulting formation—a giant rock about 17 feet long and 10 feet tall—looks uncannily like the head of a troll or some other grotesque being. It’s almost as if the giant head gazes toward the lake, scanning the landscape it guards.

When the Sami people still lived in this area, they worshiped the rock as a Sieidi, a sacrificial stone. When Christianity arrived, the stone was thought to harbor the home of Saint Nicholas himself.

The stone is located in a small natural conservation area next to the beautiful Lake Kulovesi. It’s a bit hard to find, but once you discover it, you can actually crawl into its holes to get an inside view of the Devil’s Nest. There, you can see the stone’s honeycomb-like formations. Because it’s possible to access the inside of the giant rock, it’s even considered a cave.

Know Before You Go

The road ends almost 500 yards from the stone. The last couple of miles of the road winds through cattle farms, yards, ravines, and driveways to cabins.

There are a lot of cabins in the area, so respect their privacy. The area is a natural conservation area, so don't litter, make fires, or anything that is harmful to the environment. Please don't harm the rock itself by using hooks or picks when climbing in it. 

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