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Mirrors help town get first taste of winter sun

Residents of the small Norwegian town of Rjukan have finally seen the light.

Tucked in between steep mountains, the town is normally shrouded in shadow for almost six months of the year, with residents having to catch a cable car to the top of a nearby precipice to get a fix of midday vitamin D.

But yesterday faint rays from the winter sun reached the town's market square for the first time, thanks to three 17sqm mirrors placed on a mountain.

Cheering families, some on sun loungers, drinking cocktails and waving Norwegian flags, donned shades as the sun crept from behind a cloud to hit the mirrors and reflect down onto the faces of delighted children below.

FOOTAGE

TV footage of the event showed the centre of the crowded square light up a touch but not as if hit by direct sunlight. Still, residents said it was noticeable.

"Before when it was a fine day, you would see that the sky was blue and you knew that the sun was shining. But you couldn't quite see it.

It was very frustrating," said Karin Roe, from the local tourist office.

"This feels warm. When there is no time to get to the top of the mountains on weekdays, it will be lovely to come out for an hour and feel this warmth on my face."

The plan to illuminate Rjukan was cooked up 100 years ago by the Norwegian industrialist Sam Eyde, who built the town to provide workers for a hydroelectric plant he located at the foot of a nearby waterfall.

hnews@herald.ie


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