Ilulissat (population 4,000) is the third largest city in Greenland. The town is about halfway up the country's west coast, at 69 degrees north latitude, about 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. Illulisat is also known by its Danish name of Jakobshavn (or Jacob's Harbour). In direct translation, Ilulissat is the Greenlandic word for 'The Icebergs'. Ilulissat is Greenland's most popular tourist place, because it is near to the beautiful Ilulissat Ice Fjord - tourism is now the town's main industry. Ilulissat was the birthplace of the great polar explorer Knud Rasmussen, and his childhood home in the center of the town is now a museum dedicated to him.
History[change | change source]
Inuit villages have been in the area of the ice fjord for at least three thousand years. The abandoned settlement of Sermermiut two kilometers south of the modern town of Ilulissat was once amongst the largest settlements in Greenland, with around 250 residents. The modern town was founded in 1741 by a missionary and a trader of fur, who had built a trading lodge in the area.
Ilulissat ice fjord[change | change source]
The Ilulissat fjord goes west 40 kilometers from the Greenland icecap to Disko Bay, close to Ilulissat town. At its eastern end is the Jakobshavn Isbrae Glacier, the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. The glacier flows at a rate of 20-35 metres per day, resulting in around 20 billion tons of icebergs breaking off and leaving the fjord every year. On breaking up the icebergs come out into the open sea and at first, they travel north with ocean currents. Soon, they start turning south and they go into the Atlantic Ocean.
Transportation[change | change source]
Air Greenland has air services to Ilulissat.