Located on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway, this Russian settlement and coal-mining community bears a rather unusual name for a town located almost on the top of the globe.
Called Пирамида in Russian, it was initially founded by Sweden in 1910 and was later sold to the Soviet Union in 1927.
This now-abandoned town rests at the foot of the Billefjorden on the island of Spitsbergen. The name given to this town is the same as the name of the mountain in whose shadow Pyramiden lies.
To show how remote this mining town is, one can use the fact that the closest settlement is some 50 km to the south, where Svalbard’s capital, Longyearbyen, is located.
The owner of this town is the Arktikugol Trust – a state-owned mining company that ran Pyramiden, allowing some 1000 residents to live and work here during its heyday.
The town was more than successful and for some 70 years, it did what it could do best – extract coal. But when the last piece of coal was removed so was the future of this little town, and on 31 March 1998 that’s exactly what happened.
The last resident to permanently leave the mining site was on 10th October of that same year. Once you enter the derelict buildings and houses, one cannot help but get a sort of a ghastly feeling, as if time itself decided to slow down to an almost complete halt.
Up until 2007, almost nothing had been moved and was to be found on the exact spot where it was left by its rightful owner, as if someone chased the residents of Pyramiden out of their homes in a hurry.
Kjartan Fløgstad, a Norwegian author wrote a book that immortalizes Pyramiden, and The History Channel made a documentary called Life After People which featured this town. The real thrill comes when one finds out that due to the rare climate surrounding this mining town, it is almost impossible for the buildings to decay.
Furthermore, scientific research has proven that the buildings would hold their ground and be visible for the next 500 years to come.
Another eye opener related to this town is that in the auditorium of the cultural center in Pyramiden one can find the Красный октябрь or Red October, the world’s northernmost grand piano.
And if this is not enough, Pyramiden also has the northernmost monument to Vladimir Lenin and the world’s northernmost swimming pool.
The northernmost monument to Vladimir Lenin. Photo CreditThe only way one can reach this northern mining town is by boat or by snowmobile. Entering the buildings is forbidden without an official permit.