I’m in Pyramiden, once a showcase of the Soviet Union, a perfect mining community, set between mountains, glaciers and fjords in the Svalbard archipelago. Today, it’s an Arctic ghost town. The decision to abandon the settlement was sudden, its implementation even more so. The inhabitants were given just hours to pack their bags and leave. [...]
Barentsburg, you say? Where on earth… ? The Svalbard archipelago has four settlements of significant size, one of them is Russian. Norway has sovereignty over the archipelago, but the Treaty of Svalbard ensures all parties equal access to scientific and economic activities in the islands. Enter the Soviet Union. Since 1932, Russian company Trust Arktikugol [...]
At 78 degrees N – a mere 12 degrees from the North Pole – Longyearbyen is as far north as I’ve ever been. I’m here with my oldest daughter, to have a look at the Russian Arctic mining settlements. Looks cool and refreshing, doesn’t it? Svalbard is more commonly referred to as Spitsbergen in English. [...]
Oslo is crisp and sunny today; – 10° C, so not very cold. About the same a bit north of here on Svalbard. Should you want to visit this stunning otherworldly Arctic archipelago, it’s only a few hours flying from Oslo.