THE people of Rjukan in Norway are seeing the winter sun for the first time after the installation of giant mirrors on a mountaintop.
Rjukan lies in a deep valley, and during the six months of winter the surrounding mountains cast a shadow over the town even at midday.
The idea of using mirrors in Rjukan was first proposed 100 years ago.
Rjukan’s inhabitants gathered in the main square for the official inauguration of the mirrors. About 1,000 people, among them children in sunglasses, cheered when the main square became bathed in sun.
Some sipped cocktails on sun loungers, while others played beach volleyball on a makeshift sand court.
As the sun’s reflected rays illuminated the town square, a band played the song Let the Sunshine In, while Rjukan’s townspeople cheered, among them hundreds of children with yellow suns painted on their faces, some waving Norwegian flags.
“A hundred-year-old idea has become reality today,” said Steinar Bergsland, mayor of the Tinn municipality which includes Rjukan.
He said he hoped the mirrors would attract visitors to the region, which up till now has been associated more with the bravery of the men who sabotaged Hitler’s attempt to develop the atomic bomb at a hydroelectric plant near Rjukan.