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Hvalsey Travel Guide

Visitors to island, a large island found in the North Atlantic, encounter a mixture of Inuit and Norse history similarly as a view of nature rarely seen. It’s dotted with tiny villages and few roads. Hvalsey (also called Whale Island), is found close to Qaqortoq, the most important city in southern island. It is in the fjord of Hvalsey. This space contains the simplest preserved and largest site of Norse ruins, notably the Hvalsey Church, one of the primary Christian churches on the continent of North America.This Hvalsey Travel Guide helps you to get around the place easily.

Before Columbus had even thought of finding a replacement, shorter route to India, Norse settlers had established communities in Greenland. Hvalsey, a farmstead in the Eastern Settlement, was the most important of 3 Viking settlements there. Norse farmers from Iceland settled it in regarding 985. Vikings in Greenland built the Hvalsey Church during the middle of the 12th century to serve the Christians living in Hvalsey Fjord and the nearby area.

Hvalsey ParishWhen it absolutely was at its peak, the Hvalsey Parish area enclosed the church similarly as 14 other buildings. Archaeologists believe that these might have enclosed storehouses, residential homes or the priest’s home. Other ruins could also be those of a banquet hall and a residential complex.

Most signs of the other buildings have disappeared, but the Hvalsey Church still has all four walls, between 4.5 and 6 meters (15 and 20 feet) high, as well as the openings for two windows and three entrances. The wooden interior and the roof are no longer there, but the church itself looks very much like it did when the settlers abandoned it in the 15th century.

The farmstead, of which Hvalsey Church was a part, was occupied from the 11th century through the 15th century. On September 16, 1408, a wedding was held at the church, and the documentation of this celebration is the last record of the Vikings living there. A short time later, they disappeared from Greenland for unknown reasons. Some archaeologists think that climate changes made it difficult to farm and ranch, while others believe that identity and economic problems caused the Vikings to return to their ancestral homes.

HvalseyNot knowing whether the old Norse civilization remained in Greenland or not an expedition led by the Norwegian missionary Hans Egede was sent to Greenland in 1721. The expedition found no living Vikings.

Today, Hvalsey is found near the city of Qaqortoq, with about 3,000 inhabitants still the fourth-largest city in Greenland. Visiting the ruins of Hvalsey Church is like taking a pilgrimageback in time. Along with a view of the idyllic area in which these early explorers lived, these ruins are all that is left of the story of medieval Catholicism in Greenland.

Enjoy the trip with Hvalsey Travel Guide!