Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Trondenes Church, Norway

Trondenes Church is the northernmost medieval stone church in Europe, situated in Harstad, Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. For ages it was the northernmost church in Christendom.
Location: 68°49N, 16°33′ E

The plan is of the ancient type, with a choir narrower than the nave, but surprisingly of the same length.

The present day church dates back to the 13th century, and was built over the ruins of two older viking stave (wooden) churches ( 11th -12th cent.), after the vikings lost the battle against the unification of Norway . It displays both romanic and gothic styles: arched doorways and thick walls, a fortification against russian assaults.

Main door

Side door

The organ dates from the late 18th century. In the choir section, one can see remnants of medieval frescoes.

The church is especially known for it's rich decorations, including three gothic triptychs of hanseatic origin, probably from Lübeck.

Detail from the altarpiece: veneration of Mary.

The beautiful baroque pulpit (1762,
rococo style) is equipped with an hourglass to allow the minister to time long sermons:

Trondenes church is well preserved and the exterior is close to the original state.

In the late Medieval period, Trondenes served as the main church centre of northern Norway. Together with Trondheim´s magnificent Nidaros cathedral, they make the most valuable legacy of medieval architecture in Norway.

They also testimony Norway's economic importance in late Middle Age, for the skills and means their building demanded. The dried fish trade between the Hanseatic towns in the North and Baltic Seas may be the origin of that norwegian wealth.

Trondenes in winter:

Location map:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Uummannaq, Greenland - an arctic gem facing Canada

A charming inuit settlement in the east cost of Greenland, north of Disko Bay and in front of Canada's Baffin Island, Uummannaq is situated in a magnificent arctic scenery.

The harbour seen as the ferry boat is leaving at low light.

Uummannaq is one the island's northernmost municipalities, surrounded by a majestic and harsh environment of tall mountains, fjords, many glaciers and icebergs, with a rich arctic fauna, particularly fish and sea mammals.

Around 1500 people live in Uummannaq.

Location: 70°40′ N, 52°07′W - 590 km north of the Arctic Circle.

Founded in 1763, the town is a hunting and fishing base, particularly of halibut. The fish are processed in a modern canning factory.

Uummannaq is located on a 12 km2 island at the foot of a large heart-shaped mountain that gave its name:

Uummannaq means, in greenlandic inuit, "The Heart Shaped".

Uummannaq Mountain, rising very sharply to the height of 1170m.
is the most prominent mountain in the Arctic part of the west coast of Greenland.

The mountain is a landmark of Greenland, often reproduced in art.

Dog sledding is one of the main tourist avctivities.

Uummannaq's hotel has a fantastic view over the fjord.

View from the hotel's esplanade

The town center, and the many-coloured houses that add charm to the scenery.

Uummannaq's church

The church isn't very old (1935), but it is an unusual design for Greenland - it was built from local granite.

Close to the church, an old turf house, where the first settlers - mainly whale hunters - lived. It's part of the town's museum, that exhibits also fishing and hunting tools, traditional clothing, old kayaks and oumiaks, photos and charts.

Whaling harpoons at the museum.

Uummannaq Polar Institute

Founded in 2007, it´s an institution that works to conserve Greenland’s local culture and to promote educational programs for young people.

Uummannaq is also home to Uummannaq Music - the world's northernmost music platform on sea ice:

Arctic dancing during the festival.

A presentation of Uummannaq and its music festival: