A SETTLEMENT FULL OF PERSONALITIES
For some reason the settlement Igaliku attracts people known for their strong personalities. Either they founded an Episcopal residence, like the Norsemen did on the farm Gardar in 1124, or they decided to move to the area and re-found it centuries after it was last abandoned, like the Norwegian man Anders Olsen and his Greenlandic wife, Tuperna, did in 1783.
According to anecdotes, actress and singer Marlene Dietrich also visited Igaliku during World War II, when she was staying at the nearby American airbase at Narsarsuaq, entertaining the troops. Today the little sheep farming settlement has just 27 residents who stay all year. The well-known Greenlandic artist, Aka Høegh, has a summer cabin in Igaliku and the settlement is also home to Christian Egede, who often can be found sitting outside his house entertaining with his accordion.
For some reason the settlement Igaliku attracts people known for their strong personalities.
Peaks covered by snow during summer, rolling valleys lush with flowers, sheep and tall grass.
You will probably understand why Igaliku draws so many people when you, for the very first time, hike over the road called Kongevejen from the marina at Itilleq, or when you arrive through the fjord by boat from Qaqortoq.
The oldest sheep farming settlement in Greenland boasts tall mountains with peaks covered by snow during summer, rolling valleys lush with flowers, sheep and tall grass. A collection of sandstone houses, so different from the very distinctive wooden houses in Greenland, draw a portrait of a settlement with an ancient history, and a dynamic modern day narrative.
AN OPEN-AIR DESTINATION WITH A LOT OF ADMIRERS
Igaliku is a family-oriented open-air destination, with short and long hiking trails, kayak rentals, farm visits, and cultural experiences around the ruins of the old Episcopal residence and the one thousand year old irrigation system, which is partly still in use today.
The settlement receives a lot of visitors during early August, when Anders Olsen’s decedents arrive, to meet for a weekend of festivities, to celebrate the birthday of the settlement’s founding father. The event is well worth a visit if you can find somewhere to sleep, and get a ride on a boat from one of the many Greenlanders going to the settlement during that time.
- Igaliku, “The Place Like a Pot”, was founded in 1782 by the Norwegian merchant, Anders Olsen and his Greenlandic wife, Tuperna.
- The settlement is also known as Gardar, after the Episcopal residence built by the Norsemen around 1100 A.D.
- Today Igaliku is a sheep farming settlement with 27 inhabitants.
- The Igaliko Country Hotel offers rooms and cabins.
- The Hotel serves food and runs the Igaliku cafe.
- Gardar Hostel offers accommodation in typical youth hostel style.
- The local grocery store run by Pilersuisoq offers basic household staples.
HIKING TRAILS AROUND IGALIKU
You don’t need to go to Igaliku by boat if you prefer to hike there, as there is a well-marked five-day hiking trail over the mountain from Qaqortoq. On the trail you will have an opportunity to hike the hill, Redekammen, and to swing by the old well-kept church ruin at Hvalsey, one of the best known Norse landmarks in Greenland.
Going on the trail towards the north from Igaliku the main draw is the icefjord called Qooroq, worth a day’s hike for some, while others prefer instead to “greet” the sheep on the hill behind the settlement or hang out at the small hotel, where there is always time for a cup of coffee on the terrace.
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