Ilulissat, formerly Jakobshavn or Jacobshaven, is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland, located approximately 350 km (220 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. With the population of 4,541 as of 2013, it is the third-largest city in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut. The city is home to almost as many sled-dogs.
In direct translation, Ilulissat is the Kalaallisut word for "Icebergs". The nearby Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has made Ilulissat the most popular tourist destination in Greenland. Tourism is now the town's principal industry. The city neighbours the Ilulissat Icefjord, where there are enormous icebergs from the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. These white giants are a source of astonishment for both residents and visitors, when the gaze drifts to the wide Disco Bay and when you walk close to the fjord.
The town was established as a trading post by Jacob Severin's company in 1741 and was named in his honor.
The Zion Church (Zions Kirke) was built in the late 18th century, and was the largest man-made structure in Greenland at the time. The final resident of nearby Sermermiut moved to Ilulissat in 1850.
The Ilulissat Icefjord (Greenlandic: Ilulissat Kangerlua) southeast of Ilulissat was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
With 4,541 inhabitants in 2013, Ilulissat is the largest town in the Qaasuitsup municipality. The population increased over 8% relative to 1990 levels but has remained steady since around 2003.
Ilulissat Airport is located 2.8 km (1.7 mi) to the northeast of the town center and was built in 1983. It serves Ilulissat with connections to towns in northwestern and midwestern Greenland via Air Greenland. Service to Reykjavík, Iceland, began in April 2011 via Air Iceland.
The Arctic Umiaq ferry links Ilulissat with Sisimiut, Nuuk, and other towns and settlements on the western and southwestern coast of Greenland.