This spectacular natural attraction with a sheer drop of 350 meter from the edge of the cliff down to the river Tokkeåi below, is really worth a visit! Because of the air stream up the face of the cliff it is said to be possible to throw a banknote or a leaf over the edge and have it returned to you by the wind!
In the second half of the 1800s’ a stream of foreign tourists, and others, came to see and experience this special place. The gorge was even mentioned in the writings of Frederick Metcalfe at the university of Oxford.
A hotel was built at Dalen, the Lastein hotel, and tourists were taken from there on tours to the Ravens gorge. The road wound it’s way up to Eidsborg and further over Eidsborgåsen to the gorge. Later, more hotels were built in Dalen, Bandak hotel in the 1880’s and Hotel Dalen a few years later.
The most important guests came in 1878 with the visit of Gustav, the Crown Prince of Sweden, and the French Crown prince Napoleon IV whilst they were on a tour of Telemark. The two princes had a fine ride on horseback from Hotel Dalen to the Ravens gorge. In connection with this prestigious visit the hotel owner, Olav Å. Sandak from Nesland paid for a pavilion to be built for the princes and their entourage to rest in near to the gorge. The locally well-known carpenter Halvor Skaret was responsible for building the pavilion.
They also set up a pair of flagpoles at the edge of the gorge. Just before the royal party should arrive they ran a test of raising the two flags during which one of them became stuck halfway! Despite the fact that the flagpole was leaning out over the 300m drop, Halvor Skaret climbed up the pole and released the flag!
One year later, in 1879, King Oskar II visited the Ravens gorge whist touring Telemark.
In later years the pavilion was used as a meeting place for young people, and dances were held here. Around 1920 a local fiddle player sat on the outer edge and played for the dancing whilst a local youth did handstands at the edge!
In 1900 the number of tourists had grown so much that Olav L. Omdal built a new summer hotel near to the gorge. The foundations can still be seen today. This hotel was only in business for 10 years before the building was taken down and rebuilt in Dalen where it served as a private house and Post Office. It burnt down in 1923.
With the building of new roads, the Ravens gorge found itself “off the beaten track”, and only a few interested tourists found their way to this “forgotten” place.
Today, once again tourists are discovering and experiencing this unique and special nature attraction.
The Ravens gorge is well worth a visit, but be careful if you approach the edge!