Imagine waking up and the sun is yet to rise – and it stays that way for the rest of the day – and continues for days, weeks, and even months. Sounds weird, right? Interestingly, there are places where that occurs and where humans live. And no, I’m not talking about remote military camps or research centers. I’m talking about ordinary people! In this post, we’ll explore countries where the sun never rises!
The small town of Longyearbyen tops our list. With a population of 2,075, this is one of the cities in Norway where the sun never rises mid-summer. On October 26, the day lasts only about 28 minutes and 37 seconds. And from October 27 to February, the inhabitants of Longyearbyen do not see the sun. Then on February 15, the sun rises again, but only for about 22 minutes and 45 seconds. Longyearbyen is so far north that it holds the world record for its northernmost school, kindergarten, post office, church, and college.
Do you know that Greenland is one massive island in Denmark? Greenland is the world’s largest island, with about 80% of its landmass covered with ice. In the little-known city of Qaanaaq, 646 inhabitants do not experience sunrise from October 29 to February 14.
Russia is the world’s largest country, reputable for its blistering winter cold. In the northernmost settlement region of Russia lies the town of Dikson. Amongst the several cities in Russia where the sun never rises, Dikson isn’t called the ‘edge of the earth for no reason. The 550 inhabitants of this city go without sun for months in winter. It’s so remote that the last hospital in the region shut down a few years ago.
Alaska is the coldest state in the US with an average temperature of -2.7oC, even going as low as -34oC during the winter months. In the Alaskan town of Utqiaguik, it remains dark from November 19 to January 21. The Inupiat tribe dominates this region (although they’re only approximately 5,000) and survives by hunting down whales. In several other towns, the duration of daylight is ridiculously short. In Anchorage, for instance, on December 19, the day lasts for about 5 hours and 27 minutes.
From November 28 to January 15, the inhabitants of Nuorgam (200 residents) and Utsjoki (1213 residents) do without the sun. Utsjoki is in Lapland, the city reputable for its northern lights viewing and Santa Clause village.
The northernmost inhabited place on earth is in Alert, Ellesmere. Although to be fair, it’s primarily a communications base inaccessible to civilians. The hamlet of Grise Fiord, Canada’s northernmost inhabited city, holds about 135 Inuits and doesn’t experience the sunrise in some winter months.
From December 11 to January 1, the sun is down all day in the city of Kiruna. Kiruna holds approximately 23,000, making it one of the few places where thousands of people experience the sun never rising for an extended period.