A day in Nome

June 1998

Nome, just south of the Arctic Circle, on the Bering sea, is known for the gold rush during the last century and to be the end point of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT NOME

Nome is located in the Seward peninsula, on the Bering sea, at only 150 miles from Siberia. The economy is based on mineral estraction, in particular gold, manufacture of handicrafts, and on limited tourism. The structures available to the community include 15 churches, 2 libraries, one museum, two banks, one hospital with 34 bed capacity, two airports, school of any grade, including a college. A basic network of roads connects Nome to several towns in the vicinity, but there ins't any road to Anchorage or Fairbanks. Nome has known a big expansion during the gold rush, about one century ago, when the population arose to 25000 inhabitants and its beaches got the nickname of "The gold beaches of Nome" to indicate the high contents of this precious mineral. Destroyed by a flood and then by fire, togheter with a progressive impoverishment of the gold miners and to a Dyphteria epidemia, Nome began to loose its importance and most people chosen to abandon the city and to migrate in other places. Currently Nome counts 4500 inhabitants and the biggest company employeed in gold extraction "Alaska Gold Company" is still active.Nome is the arriving point, or the "finish line", of the famous "Iditarod Sled Dog Race", a competition that takes place yearly every March, which consists on crossing the entire Alaska from Anchorage, using dog sleds, for an approximate distance of 1600 kilometers (travel time is usually between 9 to 25 days). This competition recalls what happened during the gold rush, when an epidemia of Dyptheria forced dog teams to carry the medications from Anchorage, saving a lot of lives, as the ice and the weather conditions prevented to use boats and airplanes. The climate in Nome is arctic with very cold winters featured by an average temperature of -15 degrees Celsius, 4 hours of daylight on the shortest days, and cool summers with temperature normally around +10°C. Flora and fauna is represented by tundra and several species of birds, caribou, bears, mooses, whales, seals and other.

 

Nome, Alaska Nugget Inn hotel, Nome, Alaska
Nugget Inn hotel, Nome, Alaska Nome, Alaska
From all the arctic towns, probably Nome is the most different, with the most beautiful buildings.

 

Nome, Alaska Nome, Alaska
Churches in the downtown.

 

Iditarod dog sledge race arrival point, Nome, Alaska
The finish line of the Iditarod Dog Race.

 

Dog sledge, Nome, Alaska Dog sledge, Nome, Alaska
Dog sledge, Nome, Alaska Dog sledge, Nome, Alaska
Dogs are very powerful and there is no problem if there isn't ice or snow on the ground. Nome is the finish line of the famous Iditarod competition by dog sleds, departing each year from Anchorage on March and crossing all the Alaska for about one thousand miles.

 

Some narration about tools and handicrafts made by ancient Eskimos.

 

Gold dredgers, Nome, Alaska Gold dredgers, Nome, Alaska
Abandoned gold dredgers.

 

Gold mine, Nome, Alaska Gold mine, Nome, Alaska
Gold mine, Nome, Alaska Gold mine, Nome, Alaska
There is still one company empoyeed in gold extraction. Tourists here have the opportunity to search for gold.

 

And I've found it! The biggest gold nugget found here.

 

° ° °

° ° °

° ° °