Historic sites and ruins in the Nanortalik district
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In practically every creek and headland in the Nanortalik District, and large areas inland, there are traces of human activity from ages past. Very few archaeological excavations have been carried out here, particularly of the Inuit remains, so the oldest dwelling-sites that have been dated are those of the Nordic settlers who came here in about the year 1000 AD. Recent studies show clear traces of close contact between the Inuits of East Greenland and the population of the Nanortalik District. A trip through the Nanortalik District offers the traveller a variety of attractions.
Beginning in the north, we pass Alluitsup Paa and come to the former Moravian mission station at Lichtenau in the Lichtenau Fjord. With its period buildings, fenced gardens and many graves, the site gives a vivid picture of the daily life of the missionary community in the 19th century. The Lichtenau Fjord branches into two parts at the end, in one of which is Greenland's largest waterfall, Qorlortorsuaq, and also the country's only sea trout farm. The ruins of a Norse manor lie in the other branch, Sioralik.
Nanortalik Kommune - the southernmost municipal area in Greenland - has a total area of c. 15,000 km2, stretching from Qeqertarsuaq, north-west of Alluitsup Paa on the west coast to the Lindenow Fjord on the east coast and covering the entire Kap Farvel region in the south. It includes some of Greenland's most beautiful fjords, the country's only natural forest and dramatic, rugged mountains. The district's population of c. 2,700 is divided between the town of Nanortalik itself, five villages and a number of sheep farms. The main occupations are hunting and fishing.
Nanortalik (current population over 1,560) was founded as a trading post in 1797 at Sissarissoq, but was moved to the present site in 1830. In addition to a well-preserved colonial quarter, the town has an attractive church dating from 1916. In the years 1915-25, graphite from the mine on Amitsoq (now abandoned) was processed here. Following some promising mineral finds, a high-powered prospecting study is now in progress a short distance further east. The town of Nanortalik is characterized by its great boulders, among which the Knud Rasmussen Stone by the church is unique.
Alluitsup Paa is the largest village in the district, with nearly 500 inhabitants. Founded as a trading station in 1830, it now has a processing plant producing Fantail Shrimps. There is a monument in the village to Hansseraq, who took part in the Umiak Expedition in 1883-85.
Alluitsoq (pop.: 12) contains the "Allu" community centre. The village was founded by the Moravian Brethren in 1774, and many of the buildings date from that time. The parsonage was bought by the Gertrud Rask Institute in 1942 and was used as a children's home until 1980. A large number of Moravians lie buried in the churchyard.
Ammasivik currently has 160 inhabitants. The settlement dates from 1889, and the school chapel was built by the Moravian mission in 1899. The village became a trading station in 1922. For many years it has been a sheep-farming centre; not far off are the Qallimiut and Qorlortorsuaq farms, the latter of which lies close to Greenland's largest waterfall and is also the site of a sea trout farm.
Aappilattoq is now a fishing and hunting centre with 200 inhabitants. The settlement dates from the 19th century, but only became a trading station in 1922 as part of the centralization of trade in the Kap Farvel area. Many of the inhabitants came from East Greenland.
Tasiusaq is a village with a population of about 100. A sheep-farming family has lived here since 1933, and the village was made into a trading station in 1960. It serves as a centre for the sheep-farming families of the Tasermiut Fjord in Saputit and Nuugaarsuk near Kuussuaq, where the school's field station is located.
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