Pyramiden Ghost Town – the Mostly Abandoned Russian Settlement in Norway

Pyramiden (Piramida) is a Russian settlement and coal mining town on the archipelago of Svalbard, at the foot of the Billefjorden on the island of Spitsbergen, Norway.

Pyramiden was named after the pyramid-shaped mountain adjacent to the town. The coal mining settlement was founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. It is still owned by the Russian mining company Trust Arktikugol but to keep the town going would cost too much money so the town was shut down and abandoned in 1998. Pyramiden is accessible by boat or snowmobile and visitation is allowed, though going into any of the buildings unless expressly stated is not allowed. Breaking and entering, vandalism, and theft of items is accelerating the deterioration of Pyramiden so the Trust Arktikugol has begun to keep many of the buildings locked with consequences for trespassing.

The grass that has taken root in Pyramiden was actually imported from Siberia, as grass originally was not growing here.

As of 2013 the Tulip Hotel in Pyramiden is open for business making overnight stay for visitors to the settlement available. Though, there are no plans to renovate or re-open the rest of the village, there are around 30 workers who remain there to help keep preservation of the site.

The world’s northernmost grand piano is located here and is named ‘Red October’. There is also a bust of Stalin remaining as a greeting guard to the future visitors of Pyramiden.

Where is Pyramiden located? This arctic town can be found with these coordinates. 78.668926,16.377869.

All images used under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic. All images by Kitty Terwolbeck / Flickr.

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