A comprehensive study of textures and fabrics has been carried out on the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) ice core. Crystal sizes and c axis orientations have been measured on thin sections with conventional techniques, yielding new information on the growth, rotation and ; recrystallization of ice crystals in the Greenland Ice Sheet. Normal grain growth is found to persist to a depth of 700 m in the core, where the onset of polygonization due to increasing strain prevents a further increase in grain size in the Holocene ice. Smaller crystals are observed in the Wisconsin ice, larger crystals are found in the Eemian ice, and the crystal size is found to vary with climatic parameters in these periods. This dependence, which probably results from variable impurity content in the ice, persists to a depth of 2930 m. Coarse-grained ice, probably resulting from rapid growth of crystals at comparatively high temperatures, is found in the lowest 100 m of the core. The data on c axis orientations reveal a steady evolution of the fabric from random near the surface to a strong single maximum in the lower part of the ice sheet. A significant strengthening is not observed at the Holocene-Wisconsin transition. The fabric development indicates that vertical compression at the ice divide is the main mode of deformation down to a depth of 2850 m. The evolution toward a single maximum fabric hardens the ice against vertical compression but softens it against simple shear. Evidence of simple shear deformation is clearly observed between 2850 m and 2950 m depth. Stretched fabrics in coarse-grained ice in the lowest 100 m could be due to tensional stresses; this ice is unlikely to be undergoing any significant horizontal deformation at the present time.