Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A sunny blue sky over Greenland’s capital Nuuk

It has been a long cruise from Ivittuut in the Southern fjords to Nuuk. So we used the opportunity this morning to listen to the lecturers well prepared by our lecturers to learn more about this wonderful Arctic country.  Through most of the morning, we could just see the coast of Greenland from a distance. The water in between was glassy-calm. Then, as we approached Nuuk, we realized how stunning the scenery is around the capital. Nuuk must be one of the most beautiful capitals in the world!  Snow covered mountains rise up behind the city including one called Sermitsiaq. Spring is very late in these parts this year (in fact May 2015 was the coldest on record in Greenland) and snow was to be found almost down to sea level. In this image, a whale catcher is coming into port with the backdrop of the city and mountains.  

The harbour of Nuuk is some distance from the centre of town so we had a regular shuttle bus from the ship alongside the pier to downtown. If you believe that “downtown” in not he correct word, then you have never been here. Yes Greenland is a huge but sparsely populated country, but about 16000 of 56000 live in this modern city. If you have been lucky enough to visit Greenland and Nuuk in the past, you get the feeling that it is changing almost day-by-day. Many shiny buildings now stand in the centre including a bright shopping mall and cultural centre.

There are cafés and restaurants and all the amenities of a modern city. Even though you can buy nearly everything in the very modern supermarkets, even nice beef from New Zealand, you can still find the traditional fish market in Nuuk’s centre where you can get fresh fish, whale and seal meat. Newly built suburbs with a good infrastructure like shops, kindergartens and schools grew out of nothing during the last several years.

In contrast to the modern buildings several older colonial buildings still exist and are obviously well maintained.

Next to the old colonial harbour lays the very well done Greenland National Museum where you can find the very famous mummies which were found in a cave in Qilakitsoq close to Uummannaq more in the north. They date from the 1400s. This stone bust depicts the classic look of Greenlandic women from the last century and before. Note the bun of hair on top.