Hugging the head of the Ranfjord, MO-I-RANA, or more usually “Mo”, was known in Old Norse records as Móar, or grass lowland. Until World War II, it functioned as a minor port and market town, after which its fortunes, and appearance, were transformed by the construction of a steel plant. The plant dominated proceedings until the 1980s, when there was some economic diversification and the town began to clean itself up: the fjord shore was cleared of its industrial clutter and the E6 re-routed to create the pleasantly spacious, surprisingly leafy town centre of today. A predominantly modern town, Mo is also home to a statue by British sculptor, Antony Gormley, the large and stern-looking figure, Havmannen (Man of the Sea), which gazes determinedly down the fjord. The main reason to come to Mo, however, is as a base for visiting the east side of the Svartisen glacier and for exploring the region’s caves, such as the Grønligrotta, as well as its lakes, fjords and mountains.

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