Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greenland

Landnamsgaarden

People have lived in the current Narsaq area for thousands of years, but not continuously. Remains of the Norse settlement can be found in the area. The church ruins of Dyrnes can be found on the north-western outskirts of the town. The Landnám homestead, Landnamsgaarden, can be found immediately to the west of the town. Dated to the year 1000, the homestead is among the oldest of the Norse ruins in the area. The w ...
Founded: 1000 AD | Location: Narsaq, Greenland

Garðar

Garðar was the seat of the bishop in the Norse settlements in Greenland. In the sagas it is told that Sokki Þórisson, a wealthy farmer of the Brattahlíð area launched the idea of a separate bishop for Greenland in the early 12th century. He got the approval of the Norwegian King. Most of the clergy would come from Norway. The first bishop of Garðar, Arnaldur, was ordained by the Archbishop ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Garðar, Greenland

Eastern Settlement

The Eastern Settlement (Eystribyggð) was the first and largest of the three areas of Norse Greenland, settled c. AD 985 by Norsemen from Iceland. At its peak, it contained approximately 4,000 inhabitants. The last written record from the Eastern Settlement is of a wedding solemnized in 1408, placing it about 50–100 years later than the end of the more northern Western Settlement. Despite its name, the Eastern S ...
Founded: 985 AD | Location: Eastern Settlement, Greenland

Qoornoq

Qoornoq is an abandoned fishing village in the Sermersooq municipality. The area was known to have been inhabited by the ancient pre-Inuit, Paleo-Eskimo people of the Saqqaq culture as far back as 2200 BC. It still contains archaeological ruins of ancient Inuit and Norse buildings. The site was excavated in 1952 and the remains of an old Norse farm and ancient tools were discovered. The outside walls of the farm are doubl ...
Founded: 2200 BC | Location: Sermersooq, Greenland

Qilakitsoq

Qilakitsoq is an archaeological site on Nuussuaq Peninsula. Formally a settlement, it is famous for the discovery of eight mummified bodies in 1972. Four of the mummies are currently on display in the Greenland National Museum. The remains that were found in an icy tomb dated to 1460 CE. Four of these bodies were preserved well due to being buried under a rock in cold temperatures. In essence, they were freeze dried. Th ...
Founded: 1460 | Location: Siaqqissoq, Greenland

Deltaterrasserne

Deltaterasserne is one of the largest archaeological sites in Peary Land, the northernmost part of Greenland. These terraces were inhabited circa 4000 - 3700 BC by Independence I and Independence II cultures. Deltaterrasserne was constructed of large, terraced stones, ranging from 5m to 23m above sea level. Knuth named the site"s ruins and caches in order of their descending elevation. These are scattered over 800 m ...
Founded: 4000-3700 BC | Location: Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenland

Comer's Midden

Comer"s Midden is the find after which the Thule culture was named. The site was first excavated in 1916 by whaling Captain George Comer, ice master of the Crocker Land Expedition"s relief team, and members of Knud Rasmussen"s Second Danish Thule Expedition who were in the area charting the North Greenland coast. The site shows signs of having been inhabited from the 14th to the 20th century although Holtv ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Qaanaaq, Greenland

Western Settlement

The Western Settlement (Vestribyggð) was a group of farms and communities established by Norsemen from Iceland around AD 985 in medieval Greenland. Despite its name, the Western Settlement was more north than west of its companion and located at the head of the long Nuup Kangerlua fjord (inland from Nuuk, the present Greenlandic capital). At its peak, the Western Settlement probably had about 1,000 inhabitants, about ...
Founded: 985 AD | Location: Western Settlement, Greenland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.