Uummannaq Hearth-shaped

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Latitude: 64º 28’ 60”
Longitude: -50º 46' 60”

Learn to pronounce Uummannaq

Uummannaq or Umanak sits on an island at the foot of the heart-shaped mountain, and that is how the community earned its name! The mountain itself, Uummannaq Mountain, rises very sharply out of the sea to a height of some 3500 feet (1170 meters) and climbing it requires technical skills.

Located about 600 km (375 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, the town sits on Uummannaq Island in Uummannaq Fjord that seperates the mainland Greenland from Nuussuaq Peninsula. The town is considered to be in the Qaasuitsup municipality, in northwestern Greenland.

With a population of about 1,300-1,500 people, Uummannaq is home to Greenland's most northerly ferry terminal, and it is a hunting and fishing base, with a canning factory and a marble quarry. The ocean makes up the basis of existence and today fishing for Greenland halibut has taken over as the primary industry.

About as many people live in the seven small coomunities in the Uummannaq municipal - the communities of Saattut, Illorsuit, Ikerasak, Qaarsut, Ukkusissat, Niaqornat and Nuugaatsiaq. Uummannaq can be reached by flights several times a week from Kangerlussuaq via Ilulissat to Qaarsut. From here there is a 10-minute trip by helicopter. In the summertime cruise ships also regularly come to Uummannaq!

Earlier there was some mining in the region, but current world prices have closed the mines. For about 20 years before World War II, marble was mined near Marmorilik, and some say it's quality was as Italian Carrara marble. From about 1973 until 1990, one of the most inaccessible mines in the world operated near the marble quarry. The Black Angel Mine was working a high-grade lead-zinc outcropping until world prices fell.

Prehistoric finds and ruins tells us that hunters and sealers have lived in the area for thousands of years. At the former winter settlement of the Uummannaq area, in Qilakitsoq, one of Greenland’s most remarkable archaeological finds was made in 1972 when a group of particularly well-preserved mummies was found. A six-month-old baby, a four-year-old boy and six women were found in a remarkable state of preservation, having been protected by an overhanging rock. They were mummified by the very dry, constantly sub-zero temperatures. Found with the bodies were 78 articles of clothing, most of them sewed from sealskin. The Intestines of one of the women contained meat, plant remains, and pollen (grasses, dwarf birch, white arctic bell-heather, crowberry, willow, mountain sorrel), plus some wood fragments. The mummies have since been dated to around 1475 and are now on display at Greenland’s National Museum.

In Uummannaq the midnight sun can be experienced from May 16th to July 28th, and from the middle of July until autumn whale safari is a popular attraction, providing a chance to get close to minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, even killer whales. The fjords of the area also contain many bird cliffs with thousands of breeding birds.

A town known for its uniquely spectacular beautiful nature, it is also reknown for its hospitality and kindness, not least as it is home to the Children’s Home by Ann Andreassen and Arctic explorer and actor Ole Jørgen Hammeken.

Today housing young people empowering them with knowledge of traditional life, Greenlandic culture and closeness to Nature, The Children's Home is the oldest children’s home in Greenland. When it was opened in 1929, it was a children's sanatorium housing children of TB-sick parents.

Ole Jørgen Hammeken led the 2006 'Global Warming Dogsled Expedition' – a 300-mile (500 km) journey up and over the Greenland Ice Sheet from Uummannaq Fjord to Ilulissat. In 2008, Hammeken completed an amazing circumpolar voyage in a motorized open boat.

Part of GoNorth’s What Is Climate Change to You? program (WCCY), students from Uummannaq traveled to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen presenting at the COP15 meeting and opening up the amazing exhibit “Many Strong Voices” at Denmark National Museum. The exhibit has since traveled the world, from Copenhagen to London to the Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Check out the paw news for the COP15 experience

Read more from KNR News (in Danish)

The amazing movie On Thin Ice (also known as “Inuk”) is produced in Uummannaq. Featuring Ole Jørgen Hammeken the movie is about a journey from Greenland's south to its north as an homage to the origins of the Inuit people. It is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Inuk (Gaaba Petersen from Uummannaq), who was raised in the south in Greenland's capital Nuuk, and who is torn between the violence of his alcoholic parents and his dreams of creating an Inuit rock band. He is sent to a foster home in the north, where his foster guardian and teacher, Aviaaja sends him to the bear hunter Ikuma  so that he may learn wisdom. But Ikuma had begun to doubt himself after his own world began to decline due to the effects of global warming. This begins Inuk's difficult initiation into manhood through a journey by dogsled where the seal hunt replaces videogames. Watch the trailer
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Tourist brochure from Uummannaq

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