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The Essential Guide to Nanortalik (Ilivileq), Greenland

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Nanortalik, which means "the place with polar bears," is the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Founded in 1797 as a trading depot at the mouth of Tasermiut Fjord, the town is currently home to approximately 1,000 people. Although the island is named for polar bears, the chance of seeing these furry giants is fairly slim. What you will find, however, is a place of majestic beauty and friendly, welcoming residents. From the nearby Tasermiut Fjord, where rocky summits rise above a narrow glacial inlet, to the Qinngua Valley—the only forest in all of Greenland—Nanortalik is surrounded by natural wonders. Culturally there is just as much to experience. For history buffs, the Nanortalik Museum explores native, Old Norse and European colonial history as it shaped Greenland, with nine historic buildings and the world’s oldest umiak (sealskin boat). To appreciate the richness of Greenland’s traditions, be sure to attend a local choral concert where you’ll hear a unique blend of musical disciplines unlike any you’ve heard before.
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Whether you’re an accomplished mountain climber or someone who simply appreciates dramatic nature views, be sure to visit nearby Tasermiut Fjord, a 70-kilometer (43-mile) glacial inlet surrounded by majestic peaks. Accessible from Nanortalik via a...
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In a country that has almost no trees, the Qinngua Valley is a rare exception. The only natural forest in Greenland—located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Nanortalik—the Qinngua Valley boasts willows and birches that tower above the rest of...
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Tuapammiut B-590, Nanortalik, Greenland
One of the unique joys of a visit to the Arctic is to witness the spectacular light show in the sky known as the northern lights. Also referred to as the aurora borealis, this natural phenomenon occurs when the solar winds energize the...
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As a crossroads of Inuit and European cultures, Greenland is a place where different traditions meld to create something truly unique. Historically, music on the island was played on drums made from polar-bear bladders. With the arrival of...
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For a glimpse into Greenland’s colonial past, be sure to visit the Nanortalik Museum. Comprised of nine separate historic buildings, this is the largest outdoor museum in the country. A tour of the site’s wooden, rock and half-timbered structures...