Theme Week Greenland – Sisimiut

Friday, 23 September 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Sisimiut and Nasaasaaq mountain © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sisimiut and Nasaasaaq mountain © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sisimiut, formerly known as Holsteinsborg, is the capital and largest city of the Qeqqata municipality, the second-largest city in Greenland, and the largest Arctic city in North America. It is located in central-western Greenland, on the coast of Davis Strait, approximately 320 km (200 mi) north of NuukSisimiut literally means “the residents at the foxholes” (Danish: Beboerne ved rævehulerne). The site has been inhabited for the last 4,500 years, first by peoples of the Saqqaq culture, then Dorset culture, and then the Thule people, whose Inuit descendants form the majority of the current population. Artifacts from the early settlement era can be found throughout the region, favored in the past for its plentiful fauna, particularly the marine mammals providing subsistence for the early hunting societies. The population of modern Greenlanders in Sisimiut is a mix of the Inuit and Danish peoples, who first settled in the area in the 1720s, under the leadership of the Danish missionary, Hans Egede.

Today, Sisimiut is the largest business centre north of the national capital of Nuuk and is one of the fastest growing cities in Greenland. Fishing is the principal industry in Sisimiut, although the town has a growing industrial base. KNI and its subsidiary Pilersuisoq, a state-owned chain of all-purpose general stores in Greenland, have their base in Sisimiut. Architecturally, Sisimiut is a mix of traditional, single-family houses, and communal housing, with apartment blocks raised in the 1960s during a period of town expansion in Greenland. Sisimiut is still expanding, with the area north of the port, on the shore of the small Kangerluarsunnguaq Bay reserved for a modern suburb-style housing slated for construction in the 2010s. Several professional and general schools are based in Sisimiut, providing education to the inhabitants of the city and to those from smaller settlements in the region. The new Taseralik Culture Centre is the second cultural centre to be established in Greenland, after Katuaq in Nuuk.

The city has its own bus line, and is the northernmost year-round ice-free port in the country, a shipping base for western and northwestern Greenland. Supply ships head from the commercial port towards smaller settlements in more remote regions of Uummannaq Fjord, Upernavik Archipelago, and as far as Qaanaaq in northern Greenland. Sisimiut Airport, the town airport is served by Air Greenland, providing connections to other towns on the western coast of Greenland, and through Kangerlussuaq Airport, to Europe.

Most families in Sisimiut live in single-family houses, most often the traditional colorful wooden prefabricated homes shipped from Denmark, and almost always raised or supported by a concrete foundation due to permafrost. In the 1960s, Danish authorities began construction of communal apartment blocks in most towns in Greenland, including Sisimiut. Unlike in Nuuk, the modern environmentally friendly construction technologies have not yet arrived to Sisimiut, and in 2010 the existing communal-block district remained in a state of partial disrepair. The Qeqqata municipality however is planning the town expansion in the 2010s, with the area north of the Kangerluarsunnguaq Bay reserved for real estate. The new neighborhood will bear the name Akia.

Houses in Sisimiut with old church © Chmee2/Valtameri/cc-by-3.0 Aerial view © flickr.com - Mads Lumholt/cc-by-2.0 Sisimiut Airport, as seen from the Palasip Qaqqaa mountain © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sisimiut and Nasaasaaq mountain © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sisimiut Port © Chmee2/Valtameri/cc-by-3.0 © Chmee2/Valtameri/cc-by-3.0 A traditional Greenlandic peat house, reconstructed at the Sisimiut Museum © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0
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A traditional Greenlandic peat house, reconstructed at the Sisimiut Museum © Algkalv/cc-by-sa-3.0
Tourist facilities in Sisimiut include several youth hostels and hotels, such as Hotel Sisimiut with Restaurant Nasaasaaq, and Seaman’s Home, and a conference centre. The other restaurant of note is the Misigisaq Restaurant, located at the harbor. It is the only Chinese restaurant in the country and it uses Greenlandic ingredients cooked in the Chinese style. The town has a heated open-air swimming pool, which is supported on stilts so that the heat does not melt the permafrost. Several camping sites are located in Sisimiut valley and near the Kangerluarsunnguaq bay. During winter, a ski lift operates at the foot of the Alanngorsuaq mountain, at the base of the northern slopes of Nasaasaaq. Tourism is becoming increasingly important, with several outfitter companies based in town. Year-round operations offered include dogsledding, heliskiing, guided hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, and boating. The tough, 160 km (99 mi) long Arctic Circle Race takes place each winter, with the trail partially overlapping with the Polar Route from Sisimiut to Kangerlussuaq. The race was inaugurated in 1998, since then becoming an international competition.

Located in a historical building near the harbor, the Sisimiut Museum specializes in Greenlandic trade, industry and shipping, with artifacts based on ten years of archaeological research and excavations of the ancient Saqqaq culture settlements near the town, offering an insight into the culture of the region of 4,000 years ago. The museum also hosts a collection of tools and domestic items collected during 1902–22, an inventory from the Old Church with the original altarpiece dated to approximately 1650, and paintings from the 1790s. The peat house reconstruction of an early 20th-century Greenlandic residence with domestic furniture is part of an outdoor exhibition. The exhibition includes the remains of a kayak from the 18th century and the Poul Madsen collection, a collection of handcraft, art, house items and ethnographic objects compiled over fifty years. The Greenlandic stone exhibition is housed in the Bygge og Anlægsskolen building.

The modern Taseralik Culture Centre (Greenlandic: Taseralik Kulturikkut) is located in the eastern part of Sisimiut, on the shore of the Nalunnguarfik lake. The centre often hosts traveling theatre troupes, as well as concerts, from classical The Sisimiut Culture Day on 21 November is also celebrated at Taseralik. Greenlandic handicrafts, created in a workshop located in an old warehouse on the old harbor, are sold in the Greenland Travel Incoming’s Arts n’ Craft, and in several small shops along the main street. Greenland stones and sealskin products are created in the Natseq and Panigiit workshops.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on VisitGreenland.com – Sisimiut, Wikivoyage Sisimiut and Wikipedia Sisimiut. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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