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Greenland: Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, Sisimiut
Nuuk, Greenland: Capital with a backdrop of Sermitsiaq mountain
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Despite the heavy snowfall, our flight to Nuuk would fly out as schedule at 8:45 AM. It was an hour's flight to Nuuk, the Capital city of Greenland and the country's economic and cultural centre. Nuuk's latitude at 64°10' N, makes it the world's northernmost capital, only a few kilometres farther north than the Icelandic capital Reykjavík.
The city has a population of just over 17,000 and is home to Greenland's tallest building. Residents from all around Greenland need to visit Nuuk in case of serious medical complications as the smaller towns have limited medical facilities. And to reach Nuuk, like any other destination in Greenland, air and sea are the only routes.
From Nuuk we would be boarding our ship scheduled to set sail at 8 PM. We had the day with us to explore Nuuk. We had availed the services of a local guide and a bus to take us around for couple of hours. It was a good idea to drop our luggage at the ferry. Thankfully, we were allowed to check-in early and leave the bags in our cabins.
The city is dotted with cultural museums, trendy restaurants, and fashion boutiques, and fueled on fresh air, strong coffee and diverse personalities. It’s filled with Greenlanders leading fascinating lives of old traditions, modern twists, and diverse influences.
The city lies at the mouth of the vast fjord system Nuup Kangerlua, the biggest fjord system in the world. Stretching over an area of 2,000 square kilometres, the fjord is home to icebergs, cascading waterfalls, carving glaciers, tiny settlements and ragged coastlines.
The colonial harbor is the oldest part of Nuuk and also where it all began. This was where the person who founded Nuuk, a Danish missionary Hans Egede, landed and settled in 1721. He founded the town as a trading post; it flourished and eventually became the administrative capital and the seat of government of Greenland.
The waterfront is dotted with brightly colored houses against the backdrop of Sermitsiaq Mountain. Walk along the waterfront to the rocky shore to find a brass statue of Sedna, the goddess of the sea and marine animals in Inuit mythology. Sedna, with long flowing hair, is depicted with a walrus and polar bear around her.
More than one version of the Sedna legend exists. In one legend, Sedna is a giant, with a great hunger that causes her to attack her parents. Angered, her father, creator-god Anguta, takes her out to sea and throws her over the side of his kayak. As she clings to the sides, he chops off her fingers and she sinks to the underworld, becoming the ruler of the monsters of the deep. Her huge fingers become the seals, walruses, and whales hunted by the Inuit.
After exploring the beautiful and colourful town for a few hours, our guide left us at the city centre. We were on our own thereafter. The plan was to have lunch in one of the many restaurants, shop for souvenirs and then reach the ferry pier.
I had lunch at the mall and then preferred to walk back to the pier. It was a good 30-minute walk. Some of my friends took a taxi to the terminal.
Dinner was served on the ship at 7 PM. At 8 it hooted and set sail towards Ilulissat, our final destination. Enroute we would make brief stops at Maniitsoq, Kangaamiut and Sisimiut. While we would remain on board at the first 2 stops, we would have few hours on hand to explore another beautiful Greenlandic town - Sisimiut.
Nuuk Image Gallery Photo viewer
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