2023 Best of the Western Arctic


welcoming community, where you might experience “kaffemik,” a Greenlandic tradition of inviting visitors in for coffee, cakes and conversation. KANGERLUSSUAQ Kangerlussuaq sits at the head of a 118- mile (190 km) long fjord. The tiny town has Greenland’s largest airport and a unique history. Although Inuit and their predecessors occupied or visited the area, Kangerlussuaq’s modern incarnation dates back to the U.S. occupation of Greenland as an air force base beginning in World War II. MELVILLE BAY This large bay was named by explorer Sir John Ross after Lord Melville, the first lord of the British Admiralty. The Greenland ice sheet comes down to the

coast, making it a major egress for some of the most spectacular icebergs in the world. QAANAAQ Qaanaaq is one of the world’s most northern settlements. Traditional means of living are strong here, and the local museum helps shed some light on what it takes to live this close to the top of the world. UUMMANNAQ Uummannaq was founded as a Danish colony in 1758 on the Nuussuaq mainland, but in 1763 it was moved to the nearby island, as seal hunting was more plentiful there. A heart shaped mountain forms a striking backdrop to Greenland’s second- largest town.

North of the Arctic Circle, this ice fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recognized as one of the fastest- moving glaciers in the world, the Jakobshavn Glacier (or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic) located at the head of the icefjord moves 62 feet (19 m) per day. More glacial ice is calved into the ocean here than anywhere else in the Arctic. ITILLEQ Itilleq in Greenlandic means “a hollow,” which is where this village is situated, on an island without any freshwater. The village has approximately 130 inhabitants and offers picturesque views of colorful Greenlandic houses dotted along the rocky landscape. It’s also known as a

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