On the sunny side of the town

By | Category: Travel destinations

the Rjukan mirrors

It seems that in Norway there is a town that never sees the sun in winter. It’s called Rjukan and the reason is because it is deep in a valley surrounded by high mountains.

You might think that might deter tourists from visiting the town. Not as much as you might think. In summer visitors come to view the Rjukanfossen waterfall which has been harnessed for producing hydro-electricity. People hike up to Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau, and the site of one of Norway’s largest glaciers, Hardangerjøkulen.

The area is also well known as it is located in the Telemark region made famous by the film, the Heroes of Telemark, which told the story of the heavy water that the Germans refined in order to start developing atomic weapons.

In winter skiers and ice climbers come but they both concentrate on the mountains above the town even though they might stay in it. But not having any sunshine has been a problem that has vexed the town for years.

Now it has been resolved and on the 31st of October three giant mirrors controlled by computers will follow the sun’s rays and deflect them down into the town. These mirrors are located 400 metres above Rjukan and, the authorities say, it should provide enough light to bring sunshine to about 600 square metres in the town. The cost? Just £500,000 which seems cheap for a new tourist attraction as the mirrors will undoubtedly become. After all, where else can you see any such thing elsewhere in the world? Absolutely nowhere else.

So in the summer the tourist will come and now, in the winter, the skiers and the other alpine visitors will be joined by those eager to see the mirrors and those curious to see what intensity of light the mirrors will bring.

For more about Rjukan, click here.

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