The largest town in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Upon arrival in this charming southern Greenland enclave, it's easy to see why. Qaqortoq rises quite steeply over the fjord system around the city, offering breath-taking panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, deep, blue sea, Lake Tasersuag, icebergs in the bay, and pastoral backcountry. Although the earliest signs of ancient civilization in Qaqortoq date back 4,300 years, Qaqortoq is known to have been inhabited by Norse and Inuit settlers in the 10th and 12th centuries, and the present-day town was founded in 1774.
Northeast of Qaqortoq and at the end of a fjord, Hvalsey is one of the best examples of South Greenland’s many scattered ruins from the Norse period. Today the area is used for sheep-grazing, but until the 15th century the settlement at Hvalsey, and specifically Hvalsey’s church, played an important part. Christianity had spread its influence throughout Europe and eventually had reached remote Greenland, where it established itself in the country in 1000 AD. Hvalsey Church was built in the 14th century and is the best preserved of the churches in Greenland from that period. Apart from the church walls, historical ruins from the time of the Norse are just a few meters away.