Skagen (The Skaw) is a projection of land and a town in Region Nordjylland on the northernmost tip of Vendsyssel-Thy, a part of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. Skagen is located in Frederikshavn municipality.
Skagen stretches out to the northeast surrounded by the following waters:
Find Skagen at 57°44'00.00"N 10°35'60.00"E (per Google Earth).
Problems with moving dunes and desertification were brought under control in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries by large-scale plantations of grasses, bushes and fir trees. Two significant migratory dunes remain in the area, including the enormous Råbjerg Mile.
The area is closely associated with the Skagen Painters, a community of artists (artist colony), who flocked to this picturesque, and then unspoiled, area in the late 1800s to escape the city and to record artistically a way of life they realized was soon to disappear.
The area continues to be a popular tourist destination visited by many people each year. A highlight of the year is the celebration of Midsummer Eve or St. John's Evening (Sankt Hans Aften) on the beach with blazing bonfire and song.
The name Tastris is a hapax legomenon, recorded only once in all of history. Its meaning is not known: it may be the name assigned by the pre-Indo-European Mesolithic culture that once dwelled in the region, or by the subsequent agriculturalists.
Skagen, on the other hand, seems to follow Pliny's description of a projection running out into the "seas" (maria). There is a set of obscure words in modern Germanic languages that seem relevant: English skeg, a projection of a ship's keel, shag, a surface with projections, Swedish skägg (pronounced sheg), "beard". The root remains as yet unidentified.
Once a remote fishing area, it become considerably easier to travel to Skagen after it became connected to the rest of the country via a railroad line in 1890. A paved road followed in the 1940s.
The lighthouse was originally built and funded by the late Medieval Danish state with the proceeds of the "sound dues", and was superseded by the "white lighthouse" or hvidefyr in the 17th century, and then the far taller "grey lighthouse" or gråfyr of the 1850s.
The desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the abandonment of the old parish church to the migrating sands— the famous Buried Church (Den tilsandende Kirke). The tower of the church remains protruding from the dunes, as it was left as a sea marker when the church was abandoned at the close of the 18th century.
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