I've been searching for hours in the game to find a Stronghold and haven't seen one. Apparently lots of mobs and treasures can be found there, but the question is where can we find those?

Can we find them near a ravine or abandoned tunnels?

  • I believe it's random, and there's only one...so don't expect to find one quickly.
    – Domocus
    Sep 14, 2011 at 4:19
  • @Keaanu, your link is dead.
    – zygimantus
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:36

8 Answers 8


From a Reddit thread about stronghold distribution, it was reported that Jens (the development lead on Minecraft) said at PAX that strongholds spawn within a 500 block radius, centered around your initial spawn point.

As of 1.8, the number of strongholds spawned per world was increased from one to three, which makes them rare, but not egregiously so like they were in 1.8-pre1. Combined with the 500 block radius spawn parameter, if you do any amount of exploring, you should hit one by sheer dumb luck.

If you're impatient, there are alternatives depending on the version of Minecraft you're using:

Beta 1.9

As of 1.9-pre4, you can use Eyes of Ender to locate the direction of a stronghold by throwing them up in the air. Once thrown, they'll change direction to point to the stronghold.

Example usage from CaptainSparklez:

Beta 1.8

There is no in-game way to find a stronghold, but you can use a cartography program like MCMap Live (Mac) or Cartograph G (Windows) (see also this question for other alternatives) to look for tell-tale signs of a stronghold: iron bars and bookshelves.

Here's a render of a world I just generated, highlighting bookshelves (click to enlarge):

Minecraft World

The bookshelves are just barely visible at this resolution, but they're marked by the green circles.



Bam, stronghold. The render is from x=-750,z=-750 to x=750,z=750, so it appears the Strongholds are on the very cusp of the reported 500 block radius limit, if not a little outside.

  • 1
    So basically, in a world that can generate 12 000 000+ blocs, there can only be 3 strongholds ?
    – Warface
    Sep 14, 2011 at 16:15
  • 4
    @Warface Correct. The purpose of the strongholds is to house bosses, which aren't implemented yet, so Jens sees no need to create more of them.
    – user3389
    Sep 14, 2011 at 16:44
  • 1
    Thanks for this excellent answer. Is a "500 block radius" a circle that's kludged onto blocks, or is it a 'square radius', ie a rectangle with an area of (500+500)*(500+500)?
    – DanBeale
    Jun 17, 2012 at 20:34
  • 2
    Update - note that wiki Stronghold entry currently says, "All Strongholds are located at random in a radius between 640 and 1152 blocks from the origin, 0/0." I also note the difference in those two numbers is 512, so the spawn range seems to be a 512-block thick torus (or doughnut-shaped).
    – Cyclops
    Jan 19, 2013 at 14:40

There is an in game mechanic for solving this problem. Use Eye of Ender

If you want to get into the end, be sure and bring a bunch of them though!

  • I'm confused. What's blaze powder? How do you get it if you haven't already been to the end? Jan 1, 2015 at 14:19
  • Blaze Powder is found in the Nether. You need to get to the nether before you can get to the End.
    – John
    Jan 2, 2015 at 16:14

I take the seed (F3) from the world in which I want to find the stronghold, and start a creative map using the same seed. When you do this, you have an infinite number of eyes of ender to throw (throw by right clicking).

Once you find the stronghold by throwing the eyes of ender, and then following them (you will have to dig to get to it), write down the coordinates of the stronghold (F3), and then go back to your original map.

Head to the coordinates of the stronghold you found, and, if you used the same seed in your creative world as you did your original world, the stronghold will be there. This method makes it so you don't have to kill lots of endermen to get the eyes ender. Hope this helps!

  • I tried this once and I had to give up after hour and half. Sep 6, 2013 at 17:26

It's pseudo-random, though you can probably find strongholds with something like MC Map Live, though it's only for Mac OS X. Here's the Windows equivalent, though I'm not sure if it'll work for 1.8. Cartograph.

Just explore your world and manually search for strongholds on the map.


You can always use triangulation if you're inclined to work out to solve similar problems in real life too.

  • 2
    Link-only answers are discouraged. If you move the information from the MC forums into your answer, this would be a fantastic alternative.
    – Mike G
    May 16, 2013 at 14:31

Lots of great answers here, but no techniques on practically finding the strong hold with eyes of ender.

The Bottom-Line is, eyes of ender are rare so you need to use a technique called 'Successive Overrelaxation'. In short, when you know the direction from the first throw, just run, and run and run for a long time. Then, throw again. And rinse and repeat. This technique preserves eyes, and it saves some time too.

  • Actually there is a more efficient way according to wiki: the trianle method. I am not sure about the details, too lazy to google it myself but i think the idea is to throw two eyes from different locations and calculate their crossing points Jan 5, 2013 at 21:37
  • purplefrog.com/~thoth/MinecraftStronghold/stronghold.html is a tool I created to help me locate strongholds using the in-game Eye of Ender and the triangulation method outlined in a youtube video.
    – Mutant Bob
    Oct 2, 2013 at 14:16

If you want to use commands (cheating purposes - e.g. you just want to have access to end easily), then use this:

/locate stronghold

It will give you the coordinates, and you can simply tp there or walk there!


A lot of times strongholds are connected to ravines. Seriously every stronghold I've found was connected to a ravine, whether above or under ground. So look for a ravine, and the chances are good you will find a stronghold. If all else fails, use Eyes of Ender, they'll bring you to the Ender Portal room in the stronghold.

  • 1
    Ravines are random, so it's just coincidence. If there is a ravine connected to a stronghold in a certain world though, that makes it easier to see the stronghold due to more air blocks – so you're more likely to associate ravines and strongholds, creating confirmation bias. Lots of strongholds aren't near ravines, though. Oct 8, 2013 at 14:48

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