MUSSE, MCCARTNEY AND NARSAQ’S COWBOYS

Although it may sound that way, Musse and McCartney are not country and western singers from the USA. They are just names given to a couple of the many horses, and like in any western town in the USA would, in the old days, be tied up out in front of the homes in Narsaq, when they were not used for sheep herding or transportation over the mountain.
 
Although the number of horses is not what it used to be in this most striking agricultural town in Greenland, many of the inhabitants identify to such a degree with sheep farming, cattle ranching and agriculture that they jokingly refer to themselves as cowboys.
 
With the passing of time, many of the sheep farmers have moved away from the town, but you can still see a number of lush, fenced gardens, a testament to the protection given to the sheep who would roam freely around in the streets. The gardens are the breadbaskets of the town, supplying the local population with potatoes, turnips, carrots, lettuce and strawberries in sizeable quantities.

The gardens are the breadbaskets of the town, supplying the local population with potatoes, turnips, carrots, lettuce and strawberries in sizeable quantities.

  • Narsaq has a population of 1.598 inhabitants.
  • It is the youngest town in Greenland, founded as late as in 1959.
  • Local boat operators handle passenger transportation to places like Qassiarsuk, Narsasuaq, Qaqortoq and to Itilleq by Igaliku.
  • Arctic Umiaq Line’s passenger ship makes a stop in Narsaq on the ships route which connects the southern part of Greenland with the West Coast all the way up to Ilulissat.
  • The mountain known as Qaqqarsuaq behind the town contains coveted minerals and attracts many rock pickers and others who have an interest in geology.
  • The history of the Norsemen is on display at the museum, and a local rock picker has created his own exhibit about minerals and rocks, including the rare mineral, Tugtupit which so far has  only been found in very few places worldwide.

KITCHEN GARDENS AND THE NORSEMEN OF NARSAQ

One day during the 1960's, the desire to dig out some fresh dirt for a kitchen garden accidentally unearthed a Norse ruin right in the middle of town where the sheep were grazing next to the factory and the slaughter house. The manager of the factory found much more than a little dirt - Norse artifacts appeared with each shovelful, and before long, archeologists had unearthed a complete long house in the middle of town.
 
This long house is believed to be the very first place Eric the Red settled before moving to Brattalid at the end of the Tunulliarfik Fjord, where the settlement Qassiarsuk is located today. So it was in Narsaq in 1982, that that official celebrations commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the Norsemen’s arrival in Greenland took place.

HIKING AND MINERAL DEPOSITS

It is a combination of agriculture, Norse history and the landscape around Narsaq which provides the experience with a special South Greenlandic flavour.
 
Hiking in the mountains and valley behind the town opens up the countryside towards the backcountry. For persistent hikers the trek over the mountain to Qassiarsuk is a typical journey through the South Greenlandic countryside with sheep farms, green river valleys, raw mountains and ice-filled fjords.
 
If you are interested in some of the many mineral deposits in Greenland, then you may be familiar with the Dyrnæs-Narsaq complex. For those who may not have considered this to be a part of their South Greenland experience, the concentration of granite, sandstone, lavas and Tugtupit - a rare, semi precious stone which changes color - are all reminders of the mountain treasures in this part of the country.

It is a combination of agriculture, Norse history and the landscape around Narsaq which provides the experience with a special South Greenlandic flavour.

In Narsaq you will notice that local people appreciate closeness with nature and consider it as one of the town’s core values.

CLOSE TO NATURE IN NARSAQ

In Narsaq you will notice that local people appreciate closeness with nature and consider it as one of the town’s core values. Hunting grounds are within hiking distance of the town, which is unusual in South and West Greenland, and the rivers ripe for fishing are likewise just a stone's throw - or should we say a fly's cast - away. 

During May, there is an exodus of local people to one specific river where everyone aims to catch the first Arctic char of the season, in an event that is reminiscent of harvesting the first potatoes or opening the season’s first bottle of Beaujolais in other parts of the world.
 
The Arctic char is sold at very high prices at the local market and it is typically Greenlandic that events like these have far greater local importance than the fact that the well-known Danish author, Jørn Riel, once lived in the town and that his house is still there.