Pyramiden is an abandoned Russian coal-mining settlement in Billefjorden, Svalbard – named after the pyramid-shaped mountain adjacent to the town. Unfortunately, on this day back in Sept 2006, the mountain giving the name to the settlement was wrapped in clouds. This abandoned settlement is still generous with photo ops.
In 1910, the Swedes founded the village that they later sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. Owned and run by the Russian mining company Trust Arktikugol, Pyramiden once had over 1000 inhabitants. The coal mine was shut down in 1998 and the last permanent resident left 6 months later.
If you want to visit Pyramiden, it is reachable from Longyearbyen by boat in the summer and by snowmobile in the winter. There are no limitations to visiting Pyramiden, so you can go individually, but I still recommend to go as a part of a guided tour, unless you really know what you are doing – which most tourists don’t.
Remember that you are not allowed to enter any of the buildings even if they are unlocked. If the buildings are left alone and not broken into and vandalized, it is predicted that the major buildings will still be visible 500 years from now, all due to the low rate of decay in this frigid climate.
The Swedish singer, Tove Styrke, was allowed to film scenes for her music video for her single “Borderline”, and is showcasing quite a few interior shots from Pyramiden.
Of course, on Svalbard you will find several claims of things being the world’s northernmost, and in Pyramiden you find a few:
- The world’s northernmost grand piano
- The world’s northernmost swimming pool.
- The world’s northernmost monument to Vladimir Lenin
Since 2007, Trust Arktikugol has been maintaining the ghost town and repurposing it as a tourist attraction, by upgrading infrastructure and renovating the hotel – which they reopened in 2013. Go here for booking: Tulpan Hotel Pyramiden
So how’s that for travel goals, eh? Go to a Russian ghost town in the arctic and spend the night!
Want to see more photos from Svalbard? Check out these previous posts: