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  - March 1999. no. 4

LEIF    ERIKSSON

Leif Ericson, Reykjavik, Iceland.
  "There was a man called Thord, who lived at Hofdi, in Hofdastrand. He was married to Fridgerd, the daughter of Thorir Hima and of Fridgerd, the daughter of King Kjarval of Ireland. Thord was the son of Bjørn Butter-Box, the son of Thorvald Backbone, the son of Aslak, the son of Bjørn Ironside, the son of Ragnar Hairy-Breeks. Thord and Fridgerd had a son called Snorri, who married Thorhild Rjupa, the daughter of Thord Gellir; their son was Thord Horse-Head, who was the father of Thorfinn Karlsefni; Karlsefni's mother was Thorunn".

This is the description of Thorfinn Karlsefni in Eirik's saga (Erik the Red's saga). He married the beautiful widow Gudridur Thorbjarnardóttir, they had a son called Snorri, the first European to be born on the American continent in the year 1004. The same Gudridur later moved to Iceland and became a nun. She went on pilgrimage to the Pope in Rome traversing Europe on foot, both to meet the Pope but also to report on the Christian life both in Iceland and in Greenland. She is in a sense the female counterpart to Leif Eiriksson.

"Saga of Gudridur"
It is the story of this woman that have inspired the Icelandic author and instructor Brynja Benediktsdóttir to write the play "The Saga of Gudridur". The play had its first performance in 1998 and has already been played in several countries. It was also shown in "Katuaq" on February 4th and 5th as a result of a co-operation between Katuaq and the project co-ordinator for the Leif Eiriksson Project here in Greenland.. The play gives ample inspiration for the festive play to be held during the official celebrations of the summer of the year 2000.


  The Saga of Gudridur
A play by the Icelandic author and
instructor Brynja Benediktsdóttir.
  Projects for the summer of 2000
It is in connection with the summer of the year 2000 that an open-air play was decided to be shown when a seminar was held in October 1998. Three municipal representatives from three South Greenland towns met and laid down the main outlines of projects to be held during the summer of the year 2000. The Greenlandic theatre group Silamiut has been included to participate in the projects.

Other projects planned are the following:

Historical theme trips in Southern Greenland to Norse sites and to sites which has significance to our own cultural background - a result of joint municipal co-operation and co-operation between tourist representatives and travel agencies.

A Viking market is to be held during the summer of 1999, this market is to be further developed and enhanced during the summer of the year 2000, where an Inuit and Viking rally is to take place. The planning of the market for the summer of 1999 is a joint effort between local museums in the area and people from Denmark. These events are to be included to the cultural weeks to be held in three municipalities in South Greenland. The Viking and Inuit rally to take place in the year 2000 will be implemented by joint efforts between several Viking rally organisers in Iceland. In this connection, it is one of the plans are to implement an Inuit flavour to these arrangements, in order to create attention to the Greenlandic culture worldwide.

The creation of museum artefacts, souvenirs and domestic crafts, printing posters, postcards, the creation of exciting new dishes of foods, service and environmental courses; product development as a whole is a prominent factor during these preparations.

Narsaq Museum in collaboration with Rie Oldenburg at the forefront and together with Magga Karlsen, is producing Norse garments with a great deal of succes. A collection of Norse garments, as well as garments for the crew of the Viking ship "Islendíngur" are to be made.

Rie Oldenburg is also publishing a cookbook entitled: "Greenlandic food in 1000 years".

It was also decided that a new statue of Leif Eiriksson should be made and unveiled during the celebrations. Forces in the United States are working to donate a copy of the statue of Leif Eiriksson that was donated to Trondheim in 1997, in connection with its 1000th year anniversary celebrations.

All these projects and several others will be co-ordinated by a co-ordination group consisting of representatives appointed by the three main municipalities of South Greenland, one representative from Igaliku and one representative from Qassiarsuk. They will, together with the project co-ordinator, see to it that all these events be carried out succesfully. The co-ordination group meets on a regular basis.

Advertising film about Greenland
During the last fall a six minute advertising film about Greenland was made. It is being shown on the Hotel Channel in Iceland during all of 1999. The viewer potential: 300.000. It was made possible by the aid of Greenlandair, the Greenland Travel Agency, Air Iceland and SAMIK. A lightly modified version can be ordered through the project co-ordinator.

The Icelandic sagas in English
Penguin Press and the Leifur Eiríksson Publishing Company in Iceland recently signed a contract on publishing the "Islendinga Sagas" including "Grænlendinga Saga" and "Eirik's Saga" ("Eirik the Red's Saga") in English. Until present these sagas have been the prerogative for the historians of the world only. Now it will be possible for the English speaking public to have access to these sagas, and learn about the common historical heritage of Greenland and Iceland. Surveys conducted on tourism in Iceland have shown that 35 % of all tourists coming to Iceland visit that island because of historical interest.

New brochure
A brochure have been published describing the both the plans of the project, the history of Leif Eiriksson, the Norse history, the history of the Inuit as well as the main events connected with the summer of the year 2000. The brochure can be a source of inspiration for several travel agents and others interested in cultural historical tourism.

Informative talks in Katuaq
The project co-ordinator gave talks informing about the plans for the summer of the year 2000 on February 24th and the 25th. The arrangements took place in Katuaq, the culture center in Nuuk

The Viking shipbuilder and captain on the Viking ship "Islendíngur" Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, will conduct lectures in Katuaq Sunday March 14 1999 regarding the planned trip on the wake of Leif Eiriksson during the summer of 2000. He will also participate in the co-ordination meeting on March 15th through the 17th 1999.

New e-mail address
The new e-mail address of the project co-ordinator is
bt@greenland-tourism.gl

  Benedikte Thorsteinsson, project co-ordinator.


 

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