Monday, October 28, 2013
Norwegian Village Received Winter Sunlight For The First Time Ever
Residents of a remote village nestted in a steep-sided valley in southern Norway are about to enjoy winter sunlight for the first time ever thanks to giant mirrors. The mountains that surround the village Rjukan are far from Himalayan, but are high enough to deprive its 35,00 inhabitants of direct sunlight for six months in a year. That was a century -old idea, as old as Rjikan itself was brought to life to instal mirrors at 400 meters (437 yards) high peak to defelect sunlight to central square. "The idea was a little crazy but madness is our middle name", said Oestein Haugan, a local project coordinator. "When Rjukan was founded, it was a bit crazy to start a community in the middle of nowhere, with this massive hydroelectric plant, huge pipes and a railway line to transport fertiliser to rest of the world", he added. It was first mooted by Norwegian industrialist Sam Eyde, at whose behest Rjukan was established. Eyde founded Norsk Hydro, and wanted to take advantage of enormous waterfall to produce chemical fertiliser. From just 300 inhabitants spread out across scatterd farm in 1900, the population grew up to 10,000 in 1913, and the ambitious industrialist endorsed the project to deflect sunrays into he village. "It is one the few projects that Eyde was unble complete, due to a lack of appropriate technology, mayor Steiner said. Instead he built a cable car, which is still in use, to allow his employees to recharge vitamin D levels with sunlight at the top of the mountain. An artist Martin Anderson, who arrived in village from Paris picked up the idea around 10 years ago. " The further we got into winter, the further we had to drive out of the valley to enjoy sunlight. So I asked myself why not move the sunrays instead of ourselves?" The explained. The idea was challenged by other residents who questioned to appropriateness of investing public money in he project instead of nurseries and schools. "Some labelled it a Mickey Mouse project, but it is true it was a little insane, but we have to think out of the box and explore new paths" the mayor said. Five million kroners (515,000 euro, $ 849,000) was raised for the project-four million from sponsors- and now there is three 17-square meter (183-squar feet) mirror-tower over the north side of the Rjukan village. A computer will control the mirrors so that they follow the sun to reflect the light on market square lighting up a 600-square meter (6459-square-feet) elliptical area. Inauguration is scheduled for some times next week depending on the weatjer conditions. "After basking in the sun people are beaming themselves," Haugan said after the final test. Besides getting more cheerful citizens, local authorities hope to capitilize on the extensive media coverage of the feat to bring in more tourists. Encouraged by its expected tourists revival, Rjukan even hopes to be included in Unesco World Heritage List 2015, as an example of industrial genius. " We have aready recovered our investment disens of time over. May be not in cold, hard cash for the local coucil but in publicity and market value." administrative head of the muncipaslity said. "Now it is up to us to manage this asset properly".