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The most isolated town in Greenland Pt. 1 / Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland.

Before getting to experience the most isolated town in Greenland, two major challenges arise. Firstly, it's figuring out how to pronounce the jumble of letters: "Ittoqqortoormiit". Before I arrived, I'd guessed it would be something like: "IT Dock court...", well, that's as far as I would get. Apparently, it's actually something like "EAT, DUCK, CUT, DOOR, MEAT" said really fast. But even after spending a month there, my pronunciation is still far from perfect, and seems to provide more of a comedy show for Greenlanders when I try.  

The next challenge, and half of the experience when it comes to Ittoqqortoormiit is getting there. With many settlements in Greenland, transport connections are very poor. No roads between most settlements (or even within many settlements), mean the only way to access these places is by boat or helicopter.

Ittoqqortoormiit is located 900km away from any other settlement, and the village is home to around 450 people. The municipality of Ittoqqortoormiit however is incredibly sparse, with the overall area being around the size of Great Britian. In fact, Iceland is geographically closer to Ittoqqortoormiit than the next Greenlandic town.

We flew from Reykjavik, up to the north of Iceland, before taking a tiny plane across the ocean, to a little shed (also the airport) on the east coast of Greenland. From here, the real fun began; we took a stunning yet nerve-wracking helicopter ride over glaciers, beautiful untouched beaches and rugged mountainscapes, until we approached a bay of colourful houses, and the only kind of civilization for miles around. 

The remoteness of Ittoqqortoormiit lends itself to a landscape dominated by wildlife; polar bears frequently roam the town and surrounding areas, meaning leaving home without a gun is risky business. Often, the locals have to shoot the polar bears just for safety purposes. Yet, the polar bears are the least of the problems faced by Ittoqqortoormiit residents. Beyond the beauty and peacefulness surrounding Ittoqqortootmiit, the community is riddled with high suicide rates and alcohol abuse; as is the case in many other Inuit settlements. There is therefore an ambivalence to life in East Greenland; yet at its core it is a place of beauty and peace.

Photos on 35mm film.

Part 2

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