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Ikateq – The Abandoned Settlement


The Abandoned Settlement

Photo: Anna Burdenski – Visit East Greenland

Quick facts about Ikateq

Ikkatseq, Ikateq, Ikkatteq, Íkáteĸ (old spelling)
Abandoned settlement
Entrance of Sermilik Fjord
Explore an abandoned settlement, where some buildings remain as if left yesterday and some of the houses are still used for hunters to escape the harsh weather on their trips.

Stepping into the abandoned settlement of Ikateq is like stepping back in time. Once a bustling community, it was deserted in the late 1990s, with the last inhabitant forcibly removed in the early 2000s. Today, it stands as a haunting reminder of a past era.

Life in a Ghost Town

The houses of Ikateq, some now ruins destroyed by ‘piteraq’ (strong storms), bear silent testimony to the harshness of living conditions in this part of East Greenland. The settlement’s position, exposed to the elements, has led to some of the homes having been decimated by these powerful gales. Yet, despite the abandonment and the weather’s ravages, a few structures have survived. These enduring buildings serve as temporary shelters for hunters and travelers seeking to escape harsh weather or ride out a storm.

The Legacy of the Winds

The severity of the winds is illustrated by the unique methods used to anchor the buildings to the ground. Oil drums filled with rocks were tied with ropes, thrown over the roofs, and connected to similar drums on the other side, preventing the houses from being blown away. A testament to the innovative survival strategies of the previous inhabitants. The old kiosk building offers another stark reminder of the strength of the storms. A storm has moved and relocated the entire building by approximately 20 centimeters, a silent yet striking indicator of the power of nature.

Time Stood Still

The building that once hosted the church and school remains in good condition, seemingly untouched by time. It stands as though the inhabitants left without knowing they’d never return, offering a poignant reminder of the transience of human existence against the backdrop of nature’s permanence.

Experience Ikateq

Located at the entrance of Sermilik Fjord, the abandoned settlement of Ikateq beckons those curious about the region’s history. It invites you to reflect on the resilience of the human spirit in the face of nature’s relentlessness. Ikateq isn’t just an abandoned settlement. It’s a symbol of a time gone by, an echo of a community that once thrived despite the harsh conditions. It’s a destination that’s as poignant as it is fascinating, offering a unique journey through East Greenland’s history while immersing you in its stark and captivating natural beauty.


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