A land of pristine beauty, rugged terrain and Inuit communities
Start naming people you know from Greenland. Stop when you’ve reached 10 names. If you’re like most people, you’ll die before this list is done. Thanks to its location, largely above the Arctic Circle, Greenland is even more exotic and isolated than its equally enticing neighbor, Iceland.
Unlike most European countries, which are quite compact, Greenland is roughly the size of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah combined. Only about 20 percent of the island is inhabited, and nearly 90 percent of its 57,000 residents are descendents of the Inuit people who hunted and fished in this oft-frozen oasis long before Erik the Red and the Vikings arrived in the 10th Century.
Today’s Greenlanders live in primary-colored cottages in Nuuk, the capital city of 17,000, or smaller fishing communities dotting the coast where musk-oxen graze on Arctic flowers and trees are very few and far between. Despite being less green than its name implies, Greenland, bathed in the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun, is a photographer’s dream destination.
From the colossal fjords anchored in seas of floating ice to the thunderous calving glaciers encroaching upon the vast tundra, the landscape is very alive and among Earth’s most photogenic. It’s also humbling. Greenland’s ice cap, the second largest ice sheet in the world (after Antarctica), is where egos go to die.
The faces of this frontier belong to amazingly resilient creatures: Arctic foxes, wolves, caribou, reindeer, puffins, bearded seals, whales and of course, the most feared predator of all, the polar bear.
Mystery, history, scenery and wildlife, what more could one ask for? So, don’t make a list of the people you know from Greenland. That’s a waste of time. Instead, do yourself a favor and add Greenland to your bucket list.