Russian ghost town

#Pyramiden is an abandoned #Russian coal-mining settlement on the #Norwegian #archipelago of Svalbard. Founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, Pyramiden was closed in 1998 and has since remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place.

#Pyramiden lies at the foot of the Billefjorden on the island of Spitsbergen and is named after the pyramid-shaped mountain with the same name adjacent to the town. The nearest settlements are Svalbard's capital, Longyearbyen, some 50 kilometres (31 mi) to the south, Barentsburg approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-west and the small research community of Ny-Ålesund, 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the west. In Soviet times the population was mostly Ukrainian, consisting of miners from Donbass and staff from Volyn. Pyramiden is accessible by boat or snowmobile from Longyearbyen. I decided that snowmobile gives more fun than boat. Thank you GoArctica for the wonderful trip.


Owned by the state-owned Russian mining company Arktikugol Trust, which also owns the settlement of Barentsburg, Pyramiden once had over 1,000 inhabitants. Among its amenities were a cultural center with a theater, a library, art and music studios; a sports complex; and a cantina open 24 hours a day. It also had a primary school. The world's northernmost grand piano is located at Pyramiden: a "Red October" grand piano is located in the auditorium of the cultural centre. The northernmost monument to Vladimir Lenin and the northernmost swimming pool are also located here. On March 31, 1998, the last coal was extracted from the mine and the last permanent resident left by October 10. Until 2007, Pyramiden was practically a ghost town where, within the buildings, things remained largely as they were when the settlement was abandoned in a hurry.


The ambiance of this ghost settlement makes an unusual and strong impression on any experienced traveler. This community was founded by Sweden in the beginning of the 20th century and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. The living conditions were perfect in the 80-es.  It was an Arctic Paradise for those who lived and worked there.



The town was without doubt a showcase demonstrating to the West the excellence and strength of Communism. After the fall of USSR Pyramiden was closed and has since then remained abandoned with all its infrastructure in place, ‘’conserved’’. All the buildings are in a good state and the settlement seems inhabited, but the silence reigns over Pyramiden, there is no living soul around… but the polar bears.




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© 2018-2020 by Emilien Gigandet - Switzerland - emilien.gigandet@gmail.com