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Pyramiden5. Svalbard. Norway
Svalbard

Pyramiden, originally a Swedish coal mining attempt, named after the pyramid-shaped mountain (936 m) above the settlement, was bought up by the Soviet Union and was the only settlement of Spitsbergen, which was not destroyed during World War II. After the war, it was therefore here, where Soviet mining started again, and also the Soviet consulate in Spitsbergen was based here for some years. Almost everything visible in Pyramiden today is built after World War II and Pyramiden had the reputation of being the most pleasant of the Soviet settlements to live in for the workers from Ukraine and Russia. Population reached up to about 1000 persons, more than Longyearbyen at that time - and the urban architecture lets the place seem even bigger - a strange deserted island of civilisation in the middle of arctic wilderness.

With the collaps of the Soviet Union, the Russian mining company was not supported sufficiently anymore to maintain both settlements, so Pyramiden was closed in autumn 1998. Already the first winter ruined most of the pipe systems by frost.
After the evacuation, the Pyramiden Hotel was seasonally opened again on an improvised basis for the summers of 1999 and 2000, almost only used by the hiking groups of our sister company Spitsbergen Tours, but cooperation with the general director of the Russian mining company at that time became increasingly impossible, and by end of 2000, it was clear that also the hotel would close permanently, leaving Pyramiden as a ghost town except of a small salvaging force, which extracted reusable or sellable (metal scrap) materials during summers. 
Only since the following general director of the Russian mining company from 2007 onwards, there are serious attempts to stop the decay and to revitalize Pyramiden at least on a minimal scale, first of all with tourism, possibly in combination with some research. Since summer 2009, a small new container base installed in the port is available as accomodation for visitors, again, and Spitsbergen Tours renewed its tradition from up to 2000 of being the main user of Pyramiden for regular longer touristic overnight stays, standing for 80 % of all nights in Pyramiden in summer 2009.
Since 2013, also the Pyramiden Hotel is opened again seasonally, and a northernmost campsite was installed on the former gravel area behind the hotel.
However, a lot of problems from developing a convincing concept to legal questions and the problem of reliable transports still has to be solved for reaching an economically level of touristic activity only to cover the basic costs of running such a remote base. On the other hand: the costs can hardly be higher than the current subsidies for running the other Russian settlement Barentsburg with hardly any income from mining at all since years, but a work force of about 400 people based there. 

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Copyright: Luis Davilla
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 13000x6500
Taken: 02/07/2016
Uploaded: 02/07/2016
Updated: 06/01/2019
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Tags: pyramiden; svalbard; mine; abandoned; absence; architecture; lenin; arctic; built structure; coal mine; colour image; day; mining; no people; photography; svalbard island; tranquility; northern europe; europe; russian city
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More About Svalbard

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway.The islands were first utilized as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned. Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, and several permanent communities were established. The Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. This act also established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone. The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol are the only mining companies remaining on the islands. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries. Two major research facilities are the University Centre in Svalbard and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway to the rest of Europe.The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer and marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, nature. Sixty percent of the archipelago is glacier, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.source: wikipedia


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