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Greenland is spectacular, vast, wild, rugged and, most of all, truly unique. If you enjoy seeking unconventional experiences and unusual places, Greenland is unlike anywhere on Earth. Here is a list of things that you can find ONLY in Greenland and nowhere else in the world.
Almost 80 percent of Greenland is covered by the Greenland ice sheet, a gigantic body of ice that spreads across the big island. It’s one of only two ice sheets in the world.
If you’re still not impressed, listen to this: The ice sheet has been around for 18 million years! Currently it sprawls across an area of 1.8 million km² (695,000 square miles), that is 14 times the size of England.
Historically, the ice cap was not inhabited as Greenlanders chose to stay on the coastal areas with access to the water. Now, the Greenland Ice Sheet has become a go-to place for those looking for an Arctic adventure.
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Because of the geographical location of Greenland, the sea is the main source of food for Greenlanders. For thousands of years, Greenlanders sustained themselves with meat from marine animals found in their seas, including whales, walruses and seals.
Until today, these animals are a part of the Greenlanders’ diet, though they are reserved mainly for special occasions. Greenland’s unofficial national dish is Suaasat, a traditional soup made from seal or whale meat, onions and potatoes. Another traditional Inuit dish is the mattak, raw pieces of whale skin with blubber (often from a narwhal, bowhead or beluga).
To protect the marine life, each administrative area in Greenland is assigned a certain quota for whaling and fishing. Certain species like the blue whale are protected and thus cannot be fished. Also, no export of whale and seal meat is allowed — they are only consumed locally.
Myths and characters play a vital role in Greenlandic culture. The most famous character is the Greenlandic tupilak, which refers to an ancestor’s soul or spirit.
Traditionally, a shaman would call upon the tupilak spirit to help against an enemy by creating a figure made from various bones or other parts of animals. He would then sing a spell on the figure, place it into the sea to seek to destroy the enemy.
Over the years, it has become a Greenlandic tradition to make tupilaks from local materials including wood, animal bones, walrus tusks and reindeer antlers. They are often carved based characters from Inuit mythology. These days, they are an important part of Greenlandic Inuit art and are highly prized as collectibles.
When the Greenlandic rock band Sumé came into the music scene in the 1970s, they created a wave that swept across Greenland. These early pioneers of Greenlandic rock music helped pave the way for what has become an extraordinarily diverse music scene.
These days, Greenlandic rock music is still a big hit in Greenland. Locals adore rock bands like Siisisoq, Chilly Friday, and Arctic Spirits. There are also pop groups like Nanook, hip-hop bands such as Nuuk Posse and punk-rock bands such as Uummat.
Greenland’s first mall, Nuuk Center, has everything you’d expect from a shopping center: restaurants, boutiques and a supermarket. The surprise lies not in the mall itself, but it the tower above it.
The nine-story tower is home to Greenland’s government. Greenland is now governed by self-rule, and has its own government. All of the different Ministries are located here, with the highest floor being, of course, dedicated to the Premier’s office.