Aasivissuit – Nipisat

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Aasivissuit - Nipisat is siutated just north of the Arctic Circle between the northernmost limit of the coastal ´open water area´ and the southernmost limit of formation of widespread land-fast ice during winter.

This area has traces of more than 4200 years of human settlement. The cultural landscape lies at the heart of the largest ice-free area in Greenland which has made it exceptional as a hunting ground from the coasts of the Davis Strait to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Prehistoric camp sites, ruins, carins, trails and other traces of prehistoric people, i.e. nomad hunters and gatherers, can be visited by present-day travellers. 

For millenia, people in Aasivissuit - Nipisat area have exploited the locally available resources and have adapted their lifestyels and homes to the seasonal rhythm. Due to its topography and the climatic conditions, this specific area offers an exceptionally good environment for survival and thriving in one of the world's otherwise harshest places to live. 

Arctic hare, polar fox and caribou are the native mammals of the region. Caribou (estimated to be 90,000 animals in the heritage area) is the prime game species, but hare has always been hunted for its tasty meat and soft skin, and fox for its fine fur. A fourth land mammal - the musk ox - was introduced to the area south of Kangerlussuaq in 1962 and since then its numbers have increased to the present total of 10,000. 

The vegetation in Aasivissuit - Nipisat covers a little more than 80% of the landscape, the remainder comprises bare rock or soil. As the vegation typically does not grow above knee height, the contours of the landscape, and its cultural sites are very conspicuous. Half of the vegetation consists of dwarf-shrubs like crowberry, willow and dwarf birch. Bird life has always been rich in this area. In summer, the landscape is teeming with small birds and their song is heard everywhere. Freshwater birds are found by most of the numerous ponds and lakes, ptarmigan are ubiquitous, and all are in danger of falling prey to the peregrine falcon, the gyrfalcon or the white-tailed eagle.

Source: "Nomination of Aasivissuit - Nipisat. Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea for inclusion on the World Heritage List". Jens Fog Jensen et al. 2017
For more information about the site, visit UNESCO's World Heritage site.


Did you know?
The area Nipisat (Sisimiut) to Aasivissuit (Kangerlussuaq) was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.