Just outside the Norwegian capital, past miles of barren landscape,
you suddenly find Rjukan – a small but spectacular oasis of cultural history, nature and tradition.
With just 4,000 inhabitants and encircled by mountains shielding it from the sun during the winter, A small town
you might be forgiven for thinking Rjukan was not the kind of place to warrant international attention.
But you could not be more wrong.
Interest in this little mountainside community has shot through the roof in recent months.
Rjukan happens to be world-famous for the ‘heavy water sabotages’ that took place during World War II, A small town
putting the town on UNESCO’s tentative list, and more recently providing the subject of a six-part series by
Norway’s leading broadcasting corporation, called The Heavy Water Battle.
This aside, the international spotlight has been on Rjukan for a very different reason lately, A small town
namely because of the town’s newly installed, giant sun mirror: a 100-yearold idea turned contemporary
art project that has reflected sunlight onto Rjukan for the first time.
Manager of Rjukan’s tourist centre, Karin Rø, says: “People have been really happy to have our spot of sunshine.
It’s warming, both physically and mentally. We weren’t expecting it to attract so much attention.
For us it was just an idea we managed to accomplish, so it’s strange to suddenly have camera crews from China knocking on your front door.”
This humbleness is striking for a town that seems to be brimming over with cultural heritage and fairy-tale-like nature.
Take for example the town’s surrounding villages where traditional music, rose painting and costume stitching are still creating livelihoods.
Or the majestic Mt. Gaustatoppen which offers a view of a sixth of the country from its peak
not to mention that Rjukan, as one of the best locations in Europe for ice-climbing and skiing, is a winter sport nut’s paradise.
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