Skip to main content

Meet the Mummies

 Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

At Nuuk’s national museum Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu

you will find the ancient mummies of the Qilakitsoq settlement. The mummies were buried in the 15th century in Qilakitsoq, a settlement near the town of Uummannaq. The entrance fee of 30 DKK is a bargain, and if you are a student you get in for free. It is a great Greenlandic cultural experience.

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

When you enter the museum you may notice the smell…

It is the smell of skin products that ancient Greenlanders used. When you enter the halls, you will see and experience a lot. From the traditional clothing, the kalaallisuut (the woman’s clothing used in celebration), past the Greenlandic rocks and minerals, past the qajaq and the toys & tools, you will arrive at the rooms of the mummies. The rooms that house the ancient mummies are dark with no natural light, this is to preserve the mummies in their current state. The mummies are a part of Inuit culture and history and are considered a Greenlandic treasure, therefore it is important to care for them as necessary. You are allowed to take photos, but not to use flashes, since it can damage the fragile Qilakitsoq mummies.

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

When you step into the dark room, you can get a close-up of the ancient mummies.

You get an up-and-close view of the old Inuit culture, you see the tattoos still visible on these unique individuals.

When you see the mummies, you get a sense of life and death, the tools and clothing that were used every day. According to the traditional customs and beliefs, these individuals were buried with the clothing and tools that they may need when they arrived at the afterlife.

Arctic studies student, Avalak community member