Friday, 17 July 2009

The name is Nome, Ak

Old mining dredge machine, Nome

The gold rush of the begining of the XX century was also a quest for a kind of Thule, somehow. Alaska was the land of promise, and Nome the gold mining capital: gold was discovery at the beaches of Anvil Creek, in 1898 . Thousands of men came from the United States, Canada, Russia, to "the gold beaches of Nome".

The town´s welcome in the shape of a gold pan.

So, in NW Alaska, at one of the westernmost points of the North American continent(Seaward peninsula), was founded in 1901 the town of Nome, looking closely to the Bering sea, the Diomede Islands in the distance.

- Location 64°30′N 165°23′W, 102 miles south of arctic circle.
- Population 4 500
Eskimos and Caucasians about 60%, whites 40%
- Native name: Sitnasuaq

Alaska natives maintain many traditions, such as whaling, subsistence hunting and fishing, and old ways of making carved ivory and other artifacts.

From all the arctic american towns, Nome is the most different, with the most beautiful buildings.

Nome's main street, Front Street, lined with historic wooden buildings with their back facing the tide line and their front doors opening onto boardwalks, is the main display in town.

“Nomites” love their old St. Joseph Church, dating back to 1901, the oldest building in town. The cross on top of the tower used to be lighted to ease the miners return back home in the dark nights. Natives called it "white man´s star".

The main event in Nome is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race - a competition that takes place yearly every March, which consists on crossing the entire Alaska from Anchorage, using dog sleds, for an approximate distance of 1600 kilometers (travel time is usually between 9 to 25 days).

There are no road connections to Nome. The easiest access to Nome is the daily flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks.