Sunny days: Sunlight is reflected by the giant mirrors onto the town hall in the Norwegian industrial town of Rjukan. Photo: AFP
A town in Norway has placed giant mirrors on top of the hills surrounding it, to beam light into the valley in the dark winter months.
Rjukan, a town of 3500 people situated 160 kilometres west of the capital Oslo, is encircled by steep forested hillsides and cut off from direct sunlight for six months of the year.
The authorities therefore decided to put three mirrors on top of the hills which have been positioned to reflect a 600-square-metre patch of light onto the town square.
Computer-controlled: Three giant mirrors reflect sunshine towards the centre of the town. Photo: AFP
"We think it will mean more activities in town, especially in autumn and wintertime," said Karin Roe, head of the town's tourist office. "People will be out more."
The mirrors are controlled by a computer to follow the path of the sun, adjusting to the best angle to catch the rays and reflect them onto the centre of the town.
The idea was first floated 100 years ago by Sam Eyde, an industrialist and the town's founder, but was only made possible with modern technology.
In 1928 his successor built a cable car to the top of the nearby mountain so that residents could appreciate some sunlight.
But it wasn't until this year that the scheme was completed, with helicopters hoisting the mirrors 458 metres above the town to launch the 5 million krone ($878,300) scheme.
A similar project was completed in Italy in 2006, with Viganella installing mirrors on the hills above their village.