THE HEART OF GREENLAND
Myth has it that when you visit Uummannaq a piece of your heart remains on the island forever, summoning you back for the rest of your days. Some say it is the magic of the namesake mountain while others swear it is the chorus of children’s laughter down at the harbor. Whatever the force is, Uummannaq will capture your heart nearly immediately.
Uummannaq occupies a small footprint, but it redeems itself with big nature and true Greenlandic character. With just a dash of pioneering spirit and an open mind, you will find plenty of opportunities to learn about Inuit culture and to experience the vast landscape with all five senses.
Myth has it that when you visit Uummannaq a piece of your heart remains on the island forever, summoning you back for the rest of your days.
“How friendly they are in Uummannaq! That was really nice! They are just really welcoming, and everyone is quite helpful. We went to Cafémma and the woman kept bringing us cakes and coffee!”
Uummannaq was founded in 1763 and has approximately 1250 residents, plus 7 surrounding villages. It is the second largest town in North Greenland.
“Uummannaq” means “heart-like” and is named after the 1175 meter heart-shaped mountain that lies behind the town.
Uummannaq is known for having 2000 hours of sunshine a year.
A LOCAL SPIRIT
Greenlanders are the key element to any town’s character, and in Uummannaq, it is often the tiniest people who steal the show. It is a real treat to be serenaded by an ensemble of young musicians as you come on land from a cruise ship, and this symphony of small voices, often joined by sled dogs, simply cannot be found elsewhere.
All through Uummannaq’s streets you can feel the beat of the town as people walk from the shop with groceries in tow, stopping often to chat with friends along the way. On sunny summer days, women sell handmade goods down at the harbor while behind them, men come and go on fishing boats heavy with the day’s catch on board.
INUIT CULTURE ABOUNDS IN UUMMANNAQ
To understand present Inuit culture you need perspective on the past, and Uummannaq honors its original character at every corner. Turf huts stand in the town center paying homage to the not-so-distant past, and exhibits at the nearby Uummannaq Museum can teach you what life was like inside those huts. Or, channel your inner explorer and sail to nearby archaeological sites where Inuit thrived so long ago.
A WHOLE FJORD RIPE FOR DISCOVERY
No trip to Uummannaq would be complete without exploring the greater Uummannaq Fjord, whether it is by boat, helicopter, or the power of your own two feet. A good rule of thumb is: if the locals are heading there, it is probably a good place to go!
The nearby Nuussuaq peninsula and the Upernivik Mountains are just waiting to challenge your adventurous side. Whether you walk inland toward the glaciers or reach the highest peak, it is guaranteed you will stand in no one’s footsteps but your own.
And don’t think that life in Uummannaq slows just because the sun hibernates for a few months. In winter, locals get a kick out of driving their cars over the sea ice to reach nearby villages, but classic dog sledding remains the preferred method for longline fishermen to reach their fabled fishing spots. If you are lucky, they just might let you in on one of their secrets.
In 1972, 8 mummies (6 women and 2 children) were discovered at Qilakitsoq, near Uummannaq. The mummies represent ancient Inuit culture in 1475 AD, and are now a famous sight at the National Museum in Nuuk.
Also near Uummannaq, you will find Santa Claus’ summer house.
For several years, the Ice Golf World Championship was held in Uummannaq.
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