Trip Planner:   Greenland  /  Kujalleq Municipality  /  Qaqortoq  /  Historic Sites  /  Hvalsey Church Ruins
Hvalsey Church Ruins, Qaqortoq
(3.3/5 based on 10+ reviews on the web)
Hvalsey Church was a church in the abandoned Greenlandic Norse settlement of Hvalsey . The best preserved Norse ruins in Greenland, the Church was also the location of the last written record of the Greenlandic Norse, a wedding in September 1408.HistoryAccording to the sagas, the land around Hvalsey was claimed by Thorkell Farserk, a cousin or uncle of Erik the Red. Christianity arrived in Greenland around the year 1000 and churches began to be built in the country. It is thought that Hvalsey Church was built in the early 14th century, but archaeological finds hint that this was not the first church in this site. The church is mentioned in several late medieval documents as one of the 10-14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement.The Church hosted the wedding of Thorstein Olafsson and Sigrid Björnsdóttir on either 14 or 16 September 1408. The wedding was mentioned in letters from a priest at Garðar and by several Icelanders, and is the last written record of the Greenlandic Norse. The married couple later settled in Olafsson's native Iceland.In the Eskimo tradition, there is a legend about Hvalsey. According this legend, there was open war between the Norse chief Ungortoq and the Eskimo leader K'aissape. The Eskimos made a massive attack on Hvalsey and burned down the Norse inside their houses, but Ungortoq escaped with his family. K'aissape conquered him after a long pursuit, which ended near Kap Farvel. However, according to archaeological studies, there is no sign of a conflagration.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The only Viking ruins partially whole. Deafening silence and typical landscape of Greenland, the visit is usually associated with that of the school d. Where you can visit one of the few if not only greenhouses d whole Groenladia feel not think
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  • Great trip out to this location, extremely friendly guide with a good knowledge of the history. The trip included a visit to a research farm which added to the day. 
  • It's a beautiful setting. Get there early while the water is still flat and the tour boats from Qaqortoq have arrived. Photo ops abound if you can keep the mosquitos at bay. Definitely worth the 20 mi...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful place, surrounded by green hills and tall mountains. The old church is remarkably well preserved, considering that it's been built on the 900s. Walking around we see many other ruins, other buildings that thousand years ago made part of a great farming community.
  • Never been here. But, would love to go there. This place has something. I can feel by seeing only the street view.