Nuuk, pronounced Nuke
is the largest settlement on Greenland
, and is Greenland's administrative capital.
A Norwegian Lutheran missionary named Hans Egede (1686-1758), first settled the area in 1728 around the mouth of the Godthåbsfjorden inlet - one of the world's largest fjords. He named his settlement Godthåb, meaning 'good hope' in Norwegian. Unfortunately his potential Inuit converts chose to move away, feeling that a stretch of tundra with more than a few families is as congested as what most Westerners think Manhattan is. Those who remained unfortunately succumbed to smallpox and tuberculosis, as if there actually was something unhealthy about crowded living.
For a population of only 13,000, a quarter the population of Greenland, Nuuk is richly served with a bus service, an art centre (Katuaq, opened in 1987), a university (Kalaallit Nunaata Universitetia, with 100 students, 21 faculty and four departments), ski lifts and runs, a sports hall and Greenland's only grass golf course. 56% of Greenlandic industry is centred in Nuuk, chiefly business associated with fisheries and food processing.
Despite an abundance of potential real estate available to Nuuki, the Greenland government decided to house its population in Lego-like apartment blocks, although more picturesque and 'colonial' architecture can be found in the centre of Nuuk in the form of a eighteen century fishing village known as Kolonihavnen.
There are about 100 kilometres of sealed roads in Nuuk, but no roads link the settlement to any other towns. Instead people would travel by ferry or light aircraft to other parts of Greenland, or hop aboard asnowmobile or dogsled for closer destinations. There are no scheduled international flights from Nuuk; instead passengers heading to Copenhagan or Reykjavic need to change planes at the smaller airports of Kulusuuk, Narsarsuaq or Kangerlussuaq.
Nuuk is not the most northerly capital in the world (that distinction goes to Reykjavic). Being 250 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, Nuuk is continuously subject to daylight from the end of May to the beginning of August, and only four to five hours of sunlight in Winter. Temperature ranges from -8 C in January, accompanied with much snowfall, to a moderate 7 C degrees in July.
Nuuk has a sister city relationship with Aalborg in Denmark.