Ghost Towns: Spitsbergen

... We're going, we'll fly from Longyearbyen early in the morning, and drove straight into the eyes of a clear red star ...

In the vast far north there is a place that many years symbolized the parity world systems, socialist and capitalist. It is here that the northernmost frontier of the Cold War, and it was here, in this sterile, pacifies all cold, very long coexisted, worked and even fell in love "potential adversaries." Country sharp mountains, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, he also was as if no one's. Moreover, the sons of the Soviet people on this earth was almost more rights than citizens of Norway, the lawful owners of the archipelago. Here was the longest ruble.

It all started with the fact that in 1912, Russian explorers found in the wild, no one needs more than 30 fields Svalbard good coal. World War weakened the country began to divide the archipelago and in 1920 agreed: no wars, just a job! Since then here are not allowed to approach any one cruiser (weapons in the islands is - to polar bears scare).
At the turn of 1920-30. eighty square kilometers of land was purchased from the Swedes the USSR, there were built mines and miners' settlement. The most famous of them - the village (now a "ghost town") pyramid near the mine of the same name and the kilometer-high mountain.

For 60 years the once mighty trust "Arcticugol" Pyramid, the northernmost mine in the world, gave the country almost 8 million tons of coal - an expensive, unprofitable, but "easy". He issued no "on the mountain", and rolled down the mountain. The money ran out and the last ton of black gold has been extracted 31 March 1998. Last Trolley still waiting for something. And because there is nothing to wait ...

Since then, the mine and the town at its foot - dead. Expressed in bureaucratic language - mothballed. Some of the workers returned to the mainland, leaving all but the savings, someone got a mine in Barentsburg. Instead of the previous 1100 inhabitants now here are usually thousands of noisy gulls and five people: one "hermit", who has taken on the role of tour guide, and four workers without giving houses to collapse.

In Soviet times, the Pyramid was all that was needed Soviet man: good salary, food scarce, and even the world's northernmost pool. Cultural entertainment options - a lot. A community center with a cinema, library, sports center, where there were dumbbells, fitness equipment, balls ...

Here 79 degrees north latitude, and always very cold. Nevertheless, Soviet biologists acclimated Pyramid mainland turf to brighten tired miner's views on the long polar day.

Sometimes in summer there are tourists, which usually bring by water from Longyearbyen. The trip takes about two hours, viewing the town - the same. For photographer dromomana here - frozen polar paradise. Go into the house and touch anything inside the officially banned, but as they say, is not caught - not ...

So often and steal artifacts - "in memory┬╗.

Future ghost village indefinitely. Norway introduces stricter environmental laws, so about any revival of coal there is no question. In general, the Russian Federation is not up to the Pyramids. It's perfectly see businessmen, and someone is planning a production here, and drying of medicinal marine algae. And someone - to build a tourist complex for lovers of skiing and dog sledding. Turn-that is, where:

And yet importantly, perhaps, landmark ghost town pyramidal world's northernmost monument Ilyich. Stone indifferent leader surveys gave the unfinished communism.


See also

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