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UER Forum > UE Photography > Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard (Viewed 6551 times)
Off-Limits 


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Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< on 9/21/2016 9:49 PM >
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Pyramiden, named after the characterizing pyramid-shaped over-towering mountain, was founded by Sweden in 1910. It was sold to the Soviet union in 1927 and proved to be a booming town with 1000 residents in it's glory days. Everything was provided for since the town had a canteen, cultural center, school, hospital, swimming pool and a statue of Lenin overseeing everything. Pyramiden was, and still is property of the state-owned mining company Trust Arktikugol. In 2013 Arktikugol opened a hotel to allow visitors to stay over. When staying in the hotel one could imagine oneself being in in, say Saint-Petersburg, with a all-Russian hotel staff, Russian food and even Russian toilet paper.

We arrived at Pyramiden with the Aurora Explorer, a tour boat booked at Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard. Unlike the other tourists on the boat, we wouldn't be returning with them. We had booked the hotel and where going to spend the next day in this fascinating place. One the boat had moored, all visitors where crammed into a bus and driven to the Pyramiden soviet monument. From there on, we followed the tour guide, who showed us some of the better preserved buildings of Pyramiden. Dealing with a big group and very limited time in each building we managed to snap some pictures, be it with the ISO cranked-up.

After the group had hit the mandatory gift shop, it was time to check into our room. We had chosen the Soviet-style room and where greeted by two lonely beds in a big empty room.

Once the boat set off, the quite came back and we where truly able to experience Pyramiden. The abandoned buildings, amidst an amazingly beautiful backdrop is almost surreal. The only noise was a flock of screeching seagulls that had occupied one of the abandoned housing blocks. As the sun was setting we set out to shoot some pictures of the harbor area. After cooking some dinner on a little camping stove in the middle of town, we hit the hotel bar for some Russian Baltika 7 beer and homemade vodka.

The next day, we found ourselves a bit hungover, but went out to explore some of the buildings not included in the guided tour. We found the mechanical shop and administrative buildings. Then we decided to check out what this town was all about: the coal mine. Climbing the mountain up to the mine entrance proved harder then anticipated, but was a pretty effective hangover remedy. We followed the tracks that once hauled miners and their equipment in carts up the mountain. Ascending the 400 meters to the top turned out to be quite the cardio workout, but we where rewarded with an amazing view of the desolate town and the impressive nature surrounding it. The low clouds and drizzling snow added to the atmosphere. We cooked some lunch and took some photos of the buildings on top. The mine itself was completely frozen shut (probably all-year round), as where all mines we found on Svalbard.

The departure time for our return boat was approaching so we decided to skip some of the buildings in town and head for the coal power plant in the port. Sadly this was the only place that was locked.


1


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4


5 Canteen


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7


8 Sports center


9


10


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12 Cultural center


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15 Town square


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24 Sawmill


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26 Mechanics workshop


27


28 administrative building


29 Explorin in Svalbard be like...


30


Time to climb the pyramid
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36 It's snowing on top


37 First aid post


38


39 Wall of ice


40 Employee of the month


41




[last edit 9/21/2016 9:57 PM by Off-Limits - edited 1 times]

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ManOfStone 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 1 on 9/21/2016 10:21 PM >
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Absolutely incredible work. Love the location, love the style of photography you've got. I'm adding this to the list of must-see places. Reminds me of a Soviet version of Adak, AK.

What time of year did you end up going? I'd love to make the trek out there in the next year or two.




Baldran 


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Solvitur Ambulando

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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 2 on 9/22/2016 12:15 AM >
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These pictures are spectacular, as befits the location. The musical instruments, the frozen-over mine shaft, the sandals, the gym, the landscape itself ... too many great views to count. The level of preservation seems quite good, much better than I would've thought. How many visitors visit the city, and how often do people choose to stay overnight? I'm really glad you guys were able to do so, it looks like an amazing experience.




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strangePlaces 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 3 on 9/22/2016 6:05 PM >
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Absolutely amazing, all of it!
(soviet signs feel especially nostalgic!)




tax_mouse 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 4 on 9/22/2016 8:35 PM >
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Awesome pics!... Love the Wall of Ice. Abandoned ghost towns are one of my favorite places. This place is so beautiful.




yokes 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 5 on 9/22/2016 9:12 PM >
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Outstanding set




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mrpeanut 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 6 on 9/22/2016 9:23 PM >
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wow wow wow. damn this is a good one. great stuff.




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Furious D 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 7 on 9/22/2016 9:50 PM >
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Incredible set. I'd love to get out to somewhere that remote.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 8 on 9/22/2016 10:52 PM >
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these photos are just breath taking, great photos! thank you for sharing




Million Dollar Man 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 9 on 9/23/2016 12:19 AM >
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Awesome set man!




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MisUnderstood! 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 10 on 9/23/2016 12:59 AM >
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This place is mesmerizing! Pic 21 is beautiful. Love the design on the machine shop door. How cold is it here? The ice in the mine should be a great indicator, but, i was thinking near or below Zero. !?!?




A place of Mystery is Always worth a curiosity trip!
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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 11 on 9/23/2016 2:21 PM >
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My jaw is on the floor. How incredibly fortunate you were to get to visit such a breathtaking and remote location. What the hell brought you out to Svalbard...? Assuming that you didn't hike up to the arctic circle just for urbex?

Also curious about the gun. Is that really necessary? Perhaps to ward off wildlife or Soviet poltergeists?




Off-Limits 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 12 on 9/23/2016 3:40 PM >
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Posted by Pongo
My jaw is on the floor. How incredibly fortunate you were to get to visit such a breathtaking and remote location. What the hell brought you out to Svalbard...? Assuming that you didn't hike up to the arctic circle just for urbex?

Also curious about the gun. Is that really necessary? Perhaps to ward off wildlife or Soviet poltergeists?


To be honest, it really was urbex that motivated us to go there. The gun is a must if you go outside the inhabited places. This one (a ww2 era mauser) and a flare gun are to scare off one of the 3000 polar bears you may encounter on the island. You may only shoot one if your live is in direct danger. If you have no convictions they'll just let you rent a rifle. Experience is not required.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 13 on 9/23/2016 4:13 PM >
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Absolutely beautiful set and a fantastic explore. Well done.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 14 on 9/23/2016 5:28 PM >
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Posted by Off-Limits


To be honest, it really was urbex that motivated us to go there. The gun is a must if you go outside the inhabited places. This one (a ww2 era mauser) and a flare gun are to scare off one of the 3000 polar bears you may encounter on the island. You may only shoot one if your live is in direct danger. If you have no convictions they'll just let you rent a rifle. Experience is not required.



I suppose being from Belgium puts you about 1,500 miles closer to Pyramiden than me, but it's still one heck of a hike. Interesting info on the bears. Now that's what I call urbex! Haha... Really awesome story.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 15 on 9/27/2016 1:16 PM >
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You, sir, did this place justice. Fantastic set. I think my favorite is the frozen mine entrance, but excellent overall composition.




relik 


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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 16 on 10/2/2016 10:07 PM >
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Everything about this is amazing. Outstanding shots and what a great experience!
Did you see any polar bears? Did you carry a can of Coca-cola, just in case? Just kidding.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 17 on 10/3/2016 6:11 AM >
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Cool I've seen this on englishrussia.com, browsing random ghost towns.




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 18 on 1/7/2020 4:54 AM >
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I was about to make my own thread for this, but nice to see that there is already one with such cool photos! I went there recently, it's a lot more touristy now, but it was still worth the trip.



4000 miles away by location.href, on Flickr



Hero of the Soviet Union by location.href, on Flickr



Comrade Polar Bear by location.href, on Flickr


Bonus photo of the Global Seed Vault, which is very close to the main airport in Svalbard.


Northpole Vaulting by location.href, on Flickr




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Re: Pyramiden soviet ghost town, Svalbard
< Reply # 19 on 1/7/2020 4:56 AM >
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This is fucking amazing.




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