Greenland tourist information
Greenland s an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark) for about a millennium. The largest island in Greenland is also named Greenland, and makes up most of the country's land area.
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Greenland has been inhabited, though not continuously, by pre-Columbian peoples since 2500 BC. In the 10th century, Norsemen settled on the uninhabited southern part of Greenland. In the 13th century, the Inuit arrived, and in the late 15th century the Norse colonies were abandoned. In the early 18th century contact between Scandinavia and Greenland was re-established and Denmark established rule over Greenland.
Greenland became a Danish colony in 1814 after being under the rule of Denmark-Norway for centuries. With the Constitution of Denmark of 1953, Greenland became a part of the Kingdom of Denmark in a relationship known in Danish as RigsfÃ¦llesskabet (Commonwealth of the Realm).
In 1979 Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government. This became effective the following year, with the Danish royal government in charge of foreign affairs, security (defence-police-justice), and financial policy, and providing a subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, or approximately $11,300 per Greenlander, annually.
Geography and Climate
Greenland lies between latitudes 59Â° and 84Â°N, and longitudes 11Â° and 74Â°W and is the third largest country in North America. The Atlantic Ocean borders Greenland's southeast; the Greenland Sea is to the east; the Arctic Ocean is to the north; and Baffin Bay is to the west. The nearest countries are Canada, to the west across Baffin Bay, and Iceland, east of Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean. Greenland also contains the world's largest national park, and is the world's largest island and the largest dependent territory by area in the world. However, since the 1950s, scientists have postulated that the ice sheet covering the country may actually conceal three separate island land masses that have been bridged by glaciers over the last geologic cooling period.
The average[clarification needed] annual temperatures of Nuuk, Greenland vary from -9 to 7 Â°C (16 to 45 Â°F)
The total area of Greenland is 2,166,086 km2 (836,330 sq mi) (including other offshore minor islands), of which the Greenland ice sheet covers 1,755,637 km2 (677,855 sq mi) (81%) and has a volume of approximately 2,850,000 km3 (680,000 cu mi). The highest point on Greenland is GunnbjÃ¸rn Fjeld at 3,700 m (12,139 ft). The majority of Greenland, however, is less than 1,500 m (4,921 ft) in elevation.
The weight of the massive Greenland ice sheet has depressed the central land area to form a basin lying more than 300 m (984 ft) below sea level. The ice flows generally to the coast from the centre of the island.
All towns and settlements of Greenland are situated along the ice-free coast, with the population being concentrated along the west coast. The northeastern part of Greenland is not part of any municipality, but is the site of the world's largest national park, Northeast Greenland National Park.
At least four scientific expedition stations and camps had been established on the ice sheet in the ice-covered central part of Greenland (indicated as pale blue in the map to the right): Eismitte, North Ice, North GRIP Camp and The Raven Skiway. Currently, there is a year-round station, Summit Camp, on the ice sheet, established in 1989. The radio station JÃ¸rgen BrÃ¸nlund Fjord was, until 1950, the northernmost permanent outpost in the world.
The extreme north of Greenland, Peary Land, is not covered by an ice sheet, because the air there is too dry to produce snow, which is essential in the production and maintenance of an ice sheet. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt away completely, the world's sea level would rise by more than 7 m (23 ft).
Between 1989 and 1993, U.S. and European climate researchers drilled into the summit of Greenland's ice sheet, obtaining a pair of 3 km (1.9 mi) long ice cores. Analysis of the layering and chemical composition of the cores has provided a revolutionary new record of climate change in the Northern Hemisphere going back about 100,000 years, and illustrated that the world's weather and temperature have often shifted rapidly from one seemingly stable state to another, with worldwide consequences. The glaciers of Greenland are also contributing to a rise in the global sea level at a faster rate than was previously believed. Between 1991 and 2004, monitoring of the weather at one location (Swiss Camp) showed that the average winter temperature had risen almost 6 Â°C (11 Â°F). Other research has shown that higher snowfalls from the North Atlantic oscillation caused the interior of the ice cap to thicken by an average of 6 cm or 2.36 in/yr between 1994 and 2005.
Scientists who probed 2 km (1.2 mi) through a Greenland glacier to recover the oldest plant DNA on record said that the planet was far warmer hundreds of thousands of years ago than is generally believed. DNA of trees, plants and insects including butterflies and spiders from beneath the southern Greenland glacier was estimated to date to 450,000 to 900,000 years ago, according to the remnants retrieved from this long-vanished boreal forest. That view contrasts sharply with the prevailing one that a lush forest of this kind could not have existed in Greenland any later than 2.4 million years ago. These DNA samples suggest that the temperature probably reached 10 Â°C (50 Â°F) in the summer and âˆ’17 Â°C (1.4 Â°F) in the winter. They also indicate that during the last interglacial period, 130,000â€“116,000 years ago, when temperatures were on average 5 Â°C (9 Â°F) higher than now, the glaciers on Greenland did not completely melt away.
In 1996, the American Top of the World expedition found the world's northernmost island off Greenland: ATOW1996. An even more northerly candidate was spotted during the return from the expedition, but its status is yet to be confirmed.
In 2007, the existence of a new island was announced. Named "Uunartoq Qeqertaq" (English: Warming Island), this island has always been present off the coast of Greenland, but was covered by a glacier. This glacier was discovered in 2002 to be shrinking rapidly, and by 2007 had completely melted away, leaving the exposed island. The island was named Place of the Year by the Oxford Atlas of the World in 2007. Ben Keene, the atlas's editor, commented: "In the last two or three decades, global warming has reduced the size of glaciers throughout the Arctic and earlier this year, news sources confirmed what climate scientists already knew: water, not rock, lay beneath this ice bridge on the east coast of Greenland. More islets are likely to appear as the sheet of frozen water covering the world's largest island continues to melt."
Air transportation exists both within Greenland and between the island and other nations. There is also scheduled boat traffic, but the long distances lead to long travel times and low frequency. There are no roads between cities because the coast has many fjords that would require ferry service to connect a road network.
Kangerlussuaq Airport on the west coast is the major airport of Greenland and the hub for domestic flights. Intercontinental flights connect mainly to Copenhagen.
In May 2007, Air Greenland initiated a seasonal route to and from Baltimore in the United States, but on March 10, 2008, the route was cancelled because of financial losses. Air Iceland began operating a twice-weekly KeflavÃk-Ilulissat route in July 2009. In addition to these routes there are scheduled international flights between Narsarsuaq and Copenhagen. Air Iceland operates routes between ReykjavÃk and Narsarsuaq, Ilulissat, Nuuk on the west coast and Kulusuk, Ittoqqortoormiit on the east coast.
Greenland's culture began with settlement in the second millennium BC by the Dorset Inuits, shortly after the end of the ice age.
In the 10th century, Norwegian Vikings settled in the southern part of the island, while the Thule Inuit culture was introduced in the north of the island and expanded southward. The culture clash between two peoples is attested by the discovery of a fragment of chain mail Viking at high latitude of the island, while a figurine carved from walrus ivory Inuit clear assignment was found in Bergen, Norway. Both objects must be understood as a clear testimony of the trade between the two peoples.
Inuit culture dominated the island from the end of the Middle Ages to the recolonisation in the early 18th century, where European culture was reintroduced.
Today Greenlandic culture is a blending of traditional Inuit (Kalaallit) and Scandinavian culture. Inuit, or Kalaallit, culture has a strong artistic tradition, dating back thousands of years. The Kalaallit are known for an art form of figures called tupilaq or an "evil spirit object." Traditional art-making practices thrive in the Ammassalik. Sperm whale ivory remains a valued medium for carving.
Greenland also has a successful, albeit small, music culture. Some popular Greenlandic bands and artists include Chilly Friday (rock), Siissisoq (rock), Nuuk Posse (hip hop) and Rasmus Lyberth, who performed in the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest, perfoming in Greenlandic. The music culture of Greenland also includes traditional Inuit music, largely based around singing and drums.