THE NORSEMEN IN QASSIARSUK
Qassiarsuk was the stronghold of the Norsemen. It was here they built the first Christian church on the North American continent, and it was from this location that their culture of farming spread to the rest of South Greenland.
Today a statue of Leif Ericsson has been erected on a prominent vantage point in Qassiarsuk keeping watch over both the past and the present. In the Danish language, Leif is better known by his nick names – Leif the Happy, Leif the Lucky, or simply Eric the Red’s son. He is the very first man to sail towards the west arriving in North America at a place he called, Vinland. A feat of that magnitude is not left unnoticed in South Greenland.
Qassiarsuk is the most important of all the Norsemen landmarks in South Greenland because the ruins are still very much part of the present-day landscape, and with the re-construction of Thodhilde’s Christian church and the adjacent long house, you will experience the feel of these historical buildings coming alive in a way that is unique in Greenland.
HIKING AND THE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE IN QASSIARSUK
Although the actual growth of trees is limited to certain protected fjords, the landscape of South Greenland nevertheless in many ways resembles the fjords of western Norway.
The area around Qassiarsuk has mountain hiking trails as well as a 100 kilometer gravel road that connects the settlement with the surrounding farms of Tasiusaq, Nunataaq, Sillisit, Qorlortoq and Ipiutaq that offer accommodation if you wish to stay overnight on the route.
One of the classic treks in Greenland is the 60 kilometer hike from Qassiarsuk over the mountain to Narsaq. The route changes between easy-to-walk gravel roads, staying overnight at a sheep farm, and trekking over a mountain area with many remnants of the Norsemen.