Tasiilaq Cemetery

Simple white, wooden crosses are typical of cemeteries throughout Greenland, and are seen here at the Tasiilaq Cemetery. Many of the crosses are unmarked, following the Inuit tradition in which the names of the dead never die, but instead are passed on to the next generation. Real flowers are hard to come by in the harsh Greenland climate, but many colorful plastic flowers brighten the scene. The cemetery is located on permafrost: ground that remains at or below freezing temperature for two years or more. It is extremely difficult to dig deep into the ground in these conditions. Therefore, grave digging happens in the short summer period from June to August. Even in the summer, the climate remains below 50° Fahrenheit (10° C). The cemetery is an example of how the people of Greenland find ways to brighten their surroundings and enjoy the beauty of nature despite the harsh climate and terrain.