Ruin at Nipisat Island near Sisimiut - West Greenland

UNESCO: Aasivissuit-Nipisat

Destination Arctic Circle is home to one of Greenland’s 3 UNESCO sites: Aasivissuit – Nipisat: Inuit hunting ground between the ice and sea

It is an extensive area that stretches from 40km inside of the Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerlussuaq to the islands just south of Sisimiut, and was inscribed as a UNESCO site in 2018. This designation ensures the protection and preservation of a landscape that has been used as a hunting and foraging ground since ~4,500 years ago to today.

For several thousand years, the Inuit lived a nomadic lifestyle, following the animals according to their seasonal migrations and surviving on the different species that live in the sea and on land. In particular, the Inuit of the Arctic Circle region travelled through the landscape in search of caribou, birds, arctic hare, arctic foxes and fish. The boundary of Aasivissuit – Nipisat encompasses the typical hunting route from the coast, up through fjords, and towards the inland ice.

Map of Aasivissuit - Nipisat UNESCO area

There are still many ruins of settlements and camps from previous Inuit cultures scattered throughout the UNESCO site. Many of them can be difficult to make out so it is important that if you are out exploring the backcountry you are mindful of where you travel. In particular:

  • don’t move any rocks as they may be part of graves, fox traps, meat caches, shooting blinds or historically significant cairns. 
  • don’t make new cairns or add to existing ones, as this may influence the flow of wildlife in the region

People still live in and use the resources within Aasivissuit – Nipisat. In particular, residents of Sarfannguit (the living UNESCO settlement) rely on fishing for their livelihood. You can visit Sarfannguit and other UNESCO key sites on a boat trip from Sisimiut during summer, and those hiking the southern route of the Arctic Circle Trail are very welcome to visit.

Read more about Aasivissuit – Nipisat at

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