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UNESCO World Heritage in Greenland

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Greenland's UNESCO World Heritage Sites will form fantastic settings for an unforgettable trip. There are countless reasons to visit these areas, whether you are into culture, history, or nature experiences.

On your trip to Greenland, you will have ample opportunity to experience the scenic areas that are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The three selected areas have a unique nature and are steeped in culture and history, both from the Inuit and Norse cultures. Greenland is a world-class travel destination regardless of the season. There will always be exciting experiences to find.

UNESCO, the acronym for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, is responsible for making a list of areas worthy of protection throughout the world. The areas that will be included in the list must have a special and important nature, culture or historical value (or a mix of the three). The UNESCO World Heritage List represents areas of incredible universal value.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greenland

The 3 areas in Greenland that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List are:

  • Ilulissat Icefjord on the west coast of Greenland
  • Kujataa Greenland in South Greenland
  • Aasivissuit-Nipisat at the Arctic Circle in West Greenland

In the video from Visit Greenland you can see pictures from the 3 sites , and read more about them below the video.

Ilulissat Ice Fjord

Ilulissat Ice Fjord was the first area in Greenland to be nominated and allocated a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This happened already in 2004.

The ice fjord is located on the west coast of Greenland and covers a large area. You find lots of icebergs and ice floes that come from the large glacier Sermeq Kujalleq when it calves ice directly into the fjord.

In winter, Ilulissat Ice Fjord is often completely frozen

Sermeq Kujalleq, the glacier at the head of Ilulissat Ice Fjord, is one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world. The calving glacier and the huge icebergs rising from the surface of the water in Ilulissat Ice Fjord are a fantastic sight and a unique natural phenomenon.

The ice cap is a remnant of the continental snow and ice cover from the Ice Age on the northern hemisphere. The oldest ice is estimated to be 250,000 years old. Today, the ice helps give us important information about climate change and the state of the atmosphere over time.

Kujataa, Greenland

In March 2017, Greenland received its second UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in South Greenland, and the area is important because of the unique Inuit hunter culture and the Norse agricultural and hunter culture.

The cultural history of this amazing area dates back to the 10th century when farmers and hunters from Iceland arrived in Greenland. The area represents the expansion of Norse culture outside Europe and the early introduction of agriculture to the Arctic region. The cultural landscape is based on agriculture, grazing, and hunting for, among other things, whales and other marine mammals.

The scenic area has witnessed agriculture and the hunting culture of both the Inuit and the Norse colonies that were built in the area.

Despite the diversity of these cultures, they have been able to live on the same land. Only time has separated them, though they also lived in the area at the same time for a period.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of five parts throughout South Greenland. They all have their unique characteristics.

The areas are:

  • Qassiarsuk
  • Igaliku
  • Sissarluttoq
  • Tasikuluulik
  • Qaqortukulooq

Overall, the five parts, also called Eystribyggd, are the reason why the area is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The area is classified as “organically developed” cultural landscape.

Qassiarsuk Landscape
A Midday Summer View Over Igaliku In South Greenland

Aasivissuit-Nipisat

In the summer of 2018, Greenland got its third UNESCO World Heritage Site, namely the Inuit hunting area at the Polar Circle in West Greenland.

The beautiful nature area is to be found at the Arctic Circle or the Polar Circle, as it is also called, on Greenland’s west coast. It gives testimony to more than 4,000 years of human history.

The beautiful natural landscape has been enriched with an incredible cultural heritage through many thousands of years. When you visit this wonderful place, you have the opportunity to experience archaeological sites with remains of Paleo-Inuit and the later Inuit cultures, as well as a cultural history that can be linked to climate, medicine, and navigation.

The whole area extends from Nipisat in West Greenland to Aasivissuit by the Ice Sheet ice near Kangerlussuaq and covers seven unique areas, each with their incredible history.

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