Nature is indeed home to fascinating landscapes and incredible places. Scorching deserts, lush forests, incredible cities… Here is one of the fascinating places that has a very important trace in the lives of people in the region, “Greenland.” But Greenland is just a huge chunk of ice for many people. Yes, Greenland is home to huge ice floes, and unfortunately, global warming is melting Greenland’s glaciers. But there’s much more to Greenland than huge floes of ice! These ancient lands, or these ancient glaciers, have a deep-rooted history. Besides all this, the harsh and cold nature of Greenland makes it one of the most interesting and mysterious places in the world! Here are 25 fascinating facts about Greenland that you probably haven’t heard before…
1. Greenland, the largest non-continental landmass in the world
Greenland, which is the name of an area of more than 2 million square kilometers, is also the largest island in the world! If this cold geography were an independent country, it would have the title of the 12th largest country in the world!
2. An autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark
Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953. In 1953 it became a county of Denmark! It gained a semi-autonomous government status in 1979. Greenland, whose autonomy powers were expanded with the popular vote in 2008, gained a fully autonomous status. The region is governed by a constitutional monarchy called “Landsiting”, consisting of a 31-member parliament and a prime minister.
3. 80 percent of the island is covered with glaciers!
This feature makes Greenland the second largest “ice floe” in the world. The first is Antarctica! In addition, the thickness of some ice floes in Greenland can reach up to 3,500 meters!
4. The name Greenland appeared due to a hoax
When the Icelandic Viking “Red Plum” was exiled from Iceland for his crimes, his journey finally reached Greenland. Greenland was also covered by glaciers at that time. But in order to persuade his comrades to come with him, Erik said that the new region he discovered was “Greenland”, the “Green Land”!
5. The island has the cleanest air and water in the world
Because the island is very large and very few people live in this large area. In addition, the number of factors that will cause air and water pollution on the island is quite low. Therefore, while in Greenland, you can easily drink water from any river and enjoy the fresh air.
6. Although covered with glaciers, it can be extremely hot in the summer
This may be unbelievable for many people. However, especially in July, in a clear and windless weather, the temperature can rise up to 20 degrees Celsius.
7. There are Viking ruins in Greenland dating back thousands of years
Especially the southern and western parts of the island are home to many Viking ruins. The best of the ruins are located near Qaqortoq, Qassiarsuk and Igaliku. A large number of tourists visit Greenland each year to see the ruins left by the Vikings.
8. Wherever you are on the island, you can see the glaciers
Because some extremely small ice floes, some reaching gigantic sizes, have surrounded Greenland!
9. Greenland has almost no trees
Because the island is a huge ice desert! Some people have tried to reforest the island, but they have not been successful. However, it is still possible to come across “green” – in areas not covered by glaciers and in summer.
10. The most beautiful spot where you can watch the Northern Lights is located in Greenland
Moreover, this unique natural phenomenon can be easily seen from the entire island. However, the address of those who want to experience this unique experience at the highest point is the settlement named Kangerlussuaq. Because the weather here is clear almost year-round!
11. If you go to Greenland on May 25, you can enjoy the sun to the fullest!
The sun won’t set until July 25th, especially if you’re above the polar circle!
12. There are 3 different regions in Greenland that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List
The Ilulissat Ice Fjord was listed in 2004. The area called Kujataa is the oldest known agricultural area in the arctic region! This ancient land has been on the world heritage list since 2017. The area on the island, named Aasivissuit – Nipisat, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2018. But the area is a unique hunting ground, home to the cultures of local communities in Greenland for thousands of years.
13. Some of the ice floes here have been around the world for thousands of years.
According to studies on glaciers in the region, the age of the ice sheet in Greenland is between 400 and 800 thousand years!
14. The longest day of the year, “21 June” is celebrated as an official holiday
15. More than 10 billion tons of ice has been lost in Greenland since 2003 due to global warming
16. The first human settlement on the island was established about 4,000 years ago!
According to historians, for the first time in 2500 BC, a human society made a home in the difficult geography of Greenland! However, these people disappeared after a while. Another people from North America settled in the land of the glaciers in the 10th century. The descendants of the community that settled on the island in the 13th century are the natives of the island today: Inuit!
17. The majority of the people living on the island today are Inuit!
88 percent of the island’s population is of Inuit descent! The rest are largely of European descent. Inuit means “Greenlander” in the Inuit language. Also, “eskimo” is not a favorite word of the locals living in Greenland!
18. The number of people living in Greenland is only 56,000!
In other words, Greenland has the lowest population in the world by surface area!
19. Island is in North America but part of Europe
Because European culture has been dominant on the island, especially Denmark, for centuries. For this reason, the island is considered a part of Europe culturally and politically.
20. The Inut language name of Greenland is “Inuit Nunaat”
Inuit Nunaat means “Land of the People”.
21. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is the northernmost capital in the world
However, since Greenland is not an independent geography, the title of the northernmost capital belongs to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik!
22. Greenland can only be reached via Denmark and Iceland
The island is right next to North America. However, there is no direct transportation from the continent to the island. So if you want to visit Greenland you have to go to Denmark or Iceland first.
23. There are no roads connecting residential areas here
There are 74 settlements in Greenland with populations ranging from 100 to 17,000. But no regions are connected in any way! Transportation between regions is mostly provided by small planes or boats.
24. The biggest helpers of hunters in Greenland are still “sled dogs”
However, the number of sled dogs that are part of this ancient culture is decreasing day by day. Because less costly and less maintenance “tools” are replacing sled dogs.
25. Greenland’s currency is the Danish krone
The official languages of the island are Greenlandic and Danish. But English is also quite common in Greenland.