Why is Rjukan known as ‘the town without the Sun’?

Why is Rjukan known as 'the town without the Sun'? 2

The town of Rjukan is a picturesque place, nestled among the rugged mountains of Norway, and this has led to an extraordinary phenomenon – the mountains will cast a shadow over the town.

For several months each year, Rjukan will be deprived of direct sunlight due to its unique geographical location.

Sunlight is one of the essential natural conditions for human life.

`Shadow` of Rjukan

Rjukan’s lack of direct sunlight is a consequence of its geographical location – the town is located in the Vestfjord valley, surrounded by towering mountains.

From late September to mid-March of the following year, Rjukan is always in darkness, or more accurately, in the shadow of the mountains, which prevents the town’s residents from getting direct sunlight.

Why is Rjukan known as 'the town without the Sun'?

Throughout its history, the people of Rjukan have had to live in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.

The town of Rjukan was founded by Sam Eyde in the early 20th century as a center for hydroelectric power generation.

However, the same mountains that provide power also create a natural barrier, depriving Rjukan of sunlight for several months each year.

The lack of direct sunlight poses significant challenges for Rjukan’s residents.

Not having constant direct sunlight during the winter months can lead to feelings of isolation and vitamin D deficiency, worsening the likelihood of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Why is Rjukan known as 'the town without the Sun'?

According to `The Guardian`, some Rjukan residents suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) when they become depressed due to chronic lack of sunlight.

Solution for finding sunlight

Aware of the impact of no direct sunlight, the residents of Rjukan decided to take matters into their own hands.

It wasn’t until 2013 that an artist named Martin Andersen moved to Rjukan and couldn’t stand the gloomy and boring scene of the town during the day, so he decided to ask the local government to install mirrors at his own expense.

Andersen’s original purpose was only to help people get rid of boredom and long-term lack of sunlight, but unexpectedly this project would change the whole town by attracting tourists to visit.

This effort involved installing giant mirrors, called `sun mirrors,` on the mountainside, which were used to reflect sunlight down onto the town.

Why is Rjukan known as 'the town without the Sun'?

Around 1905-1916, businessman Sam Eyde bought the waterfall area here to build a hydroelectric power plant and established the town of Rjukan.

The Sun Mirror project is considered a technological wonder of the modern world, because it required precise engineering and design.

These mirrors will follow the Sun’s movements throughout the day, redirecting its rays into Rjukan’s central square.

Why is Rjukan known as 'the town without the Sun'?

This special sun-catching system, called `Solspeilet` by the villagers, consists of 3 large mirrors controlled by a computer to move according to the Sun’s orbit every 10 seconds to maximize the amount of reflected light.

The birth of the Sun Mirror had a profound impact on the residents of Rjukan.

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