IS THERE A RIVIERA IN GREENLAND?
Qaqortoq rises quite steeply over the fjord system around the city, and on hot summer days you may be tricked into thinking that there is a sub-arctic Riviera, a special Greenlandic version with icebergs in the bay and frolicking whales in the fjord, instead of sandy beaches, palm trees and over-population.
Qaqortoq is best seen on foot, which does say something about the size of our towns considering Qaqortoq is the largest in Southern Greenland.
Several tours to nearby hill tops open up a view to the surrounding mountain areas and to the pack ice at sea, drifting down the east coast of Greenland towards the Atlantic Ocean. The hike around the water supply, Lake Tasersuaq, will take you from the center of the city out into the mountains in a matter of minutes, and if you really wish to explore the city’s backcountry, the five-day hike to the Norsemen’s old Episcopal residence and the sheep farming settlement of Igaliku, is an obvious choice.
Several tours to nearby hill tops, open up a view to the surrounding mountain areas and to the pack ice at sea, drifting down the east coast of Greenland towards the Atlantic Ocean.
“In Qaqortoq we went to Kaffemik. It was very interesting and very familiar. There was one older lady who was proud to show all her national costume clothing that she made by herself!”
ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS AROUND QAQORTOQ
Qaqortoq is well-connected with the surrounding South Greenlandic landscape that is full of adventure opportunities, and especially, when out on a boat the region really seems to open up.
We only recommend the trip to the hot springs if you are strong-willed, because once you experience the 38 degree Celsius warm water in this bathtub made by nature, you will find it very difficult to see why one should be doing anything else in life.
- Qaqortoq is the largest city in Southern Greenland with 3.229 inhabitants.
- The city was founded in 1775.
Qaqortoq is an educational city with a high school, and the city is the center of commerce and trade in Southern Greenland.
- Qaqortoq is the only city in Greenland with a fountain in the center square.
CULTURAL EXPERIENCES IN QAQORTOQ
During the mid-1990s, the Greenlandic artist, Aka Høegh, launched an ambitious sculpture project with artists from all of the Nordic countries. The following result was the exhibition Stone & Man, forty sculptures carved all around the city, many of them carved right out of the surrounding rock face. When we call something here a permanent exhibition, we really mean it!
Qaqortoq Museum is in possession of a collection of quite odd looking tupilaks or talismans, carved by the masters, Aron and Cecilie Kleist. The collection is the focal point of a museum which has the interesting habit of mixing modern art with classical Greenlandic cultural expressions.
The museum is located right next to the central square in Qaqortoq, or plaza if we are to keep our comparison with the Riviera, and even if it is not the Trevi fountain we are able to show off, nevertheless, the soon to be hundred-year-old fountain which is a well known and much loved destination for an excursion. Around the fountain is the old Qaqortoq city core, with historical buildings, cafe, eateries and even a stream running straight through the center of the old area.
When we call something here a permanent exhibition, we really mean it!
- Local tour organizers will gladly assist in organizing tours to the hot springs in Unnartoq, the church ruins at Hvalsey, and to the surrounding towns and settlements.
- Qaqortoq is a popular cruise destination for the large ships crossing the Atlantic.
- The city has two large grocery stores and several smaller convenience stores.
- The city has a hotel, two youth hostels and accommodation in rental houses.
URBAN YOUTH IN A MODERN GREENLANDIC CITY
While the classic cultural elements are an obvious choice for many visitors to Qaqortoq when exploring the city, especially pertaining to Norse history, artistic life and food culture, it is worth noticing that Qaqortoq is also large enough to have a vibrant youth culture.
The city’s high school brings young people together. Young Greenlanders often use the light summer nights to meet in a forum. It may be far from the large cities of the world, but to them it is a very urban setting with street sports and games and hip expressions.
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