Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Saksun, the spirit of the Faröe Islands

The Faröe Islands are one of the most credible candidates to Ultima Thule !

Situated half way between Scotland and Iceland in the Northeast Atlantic, the Faröe Islands (Føroyar) are an archipelago of 18 fantastic mountainous islands, and a population of just over 47000.

Sea, green hillsides, sharp cliffs and mountains, strangely shaped islands, turf-roof houses...

and a gorgeous capital, Tórshavn:

Saksun, Streymoy island

Location: 62°14′56″ N, 7°10′33″ W

Saksun is a village near the north-west coast of the Faroese island of Streymoy.

Saksun was once an inlet surrounded by high mountains. The inlet formed a deep and good natural harbour. However a storm blocked the inlet with sand.

This made the old harbour become a unaccesible seawater lagoon.

Saksun is now a picturesque village in the bottom of the lagoon.

The Dúvugarður Museum occupies a seventeenth century farm house

The old turf-roofed farm house is a well-preserved example of a Faroese farmhouse of the 17-19th centuries.

On display here are many old domestic utensils and household objects and furniture, which displayed in their original context help to give a lively impression of traditional life in the Faröes.

The beautiful church in Saksun was built in 1858 :

Repairing the turf roof :

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ultima Europa:

Hamningberg and the witch memorial

Hamningberg, at 70° 32' N, 30° 37' E, quite above the arctic circle, claims to be "The end of Europe".

Once a fishing village, it has been abandonned for many years and is now under recovery for the location, the scenery, historic testimonials and tourism.

Hamningberg has a cultural heritage, preserved houses and a brave past of resilience, all in a fascinating landscape. Vardø is the main nearby town.

At the end of continental road E 75, the village is so totally isolated that german troops missed it in WWII, so it escaped fire and devastation in 1944.

A moon-like terrain of sharp black rocks forms the landscape along the Barents sea coastal road; reins on the beach sand and a low taga vegetation announce the arctic around; in spring, many-coloured flowers decorate the wet lowlands.

The freezing sea, the grey sky, lonely houses, the scenery reeminds us a a Bergman film.

A famous café, the "End of Europe", and a church. That's still Europe indeed!

The preserved past:

And so Europe ends, in memories and ruins...

The Steilenset Memorial,
monument for the victims of the infamous VARDØ WITCH TRIALS

A moving shrine to the 91 vctims of witch persecution, 348 years after a savage trial that condamned the last 20. By the time, Finmark region had a population of about 3000; the murder of 91 had a strong and hard social impact.

Opened on June 2011, it is located by the road from Hamningberg to Vardø, overlooking the Barents sea from the top of the cliff.

The "cube" contains a chair on which a fire burns permanently, surrounded by mirrors.

The "gallery" is an inside corridor through 91 silk drapes.

The Steilenset Memorial is a work of art of swiss achitect Peter Zumthor and french artist Louise Bourgeois.


A post on nearby Vardø here:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

poetry: - Terra Ultima, Ultimus dies -

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

"When You Are Old" from The Rose
W.B. Yeats. 1893.