Every year, the famous Chernobyl ghost town merges more and more with the surrounding terrain. Nature relentlessly recaptures it metre by metre. But time has no power over the Soviet mining town of Pyramid, located on the Arctic Shpicbergen archipelago. People left it almost 20 years ago and the cold preserves it from vegetation.
The settlement was established in 1910 by the Swedes who received permission for coal mining on the archipelago. It got its name from the nearest mountain. 17 years later, the mine was bought by “Arcticugol” trust, and the village became Soviet. 1300 kilometers from the North Pole were built houses, a school, theater, library, cultural center, two cemeteries (one for people and one for cats) and sports complex with the most northerly heated swimming pool in the world.
Until the collapse of the USSR, more than a thousand people lived in the Pyramid. In the 90’s, there was no money for the maintenance of the village above the Arctic Circle, and the last miners returned to the mainland in March 1998.
This place has got its mystery. Rooms with kitchen plates, linen, typewriters, musical instruments and even expensive miner’s equipment – people could take these things with them and subsequently sell them, but all of these things are still in their place as if the workers left the Pyramid in a hurry.
In 2007, it was brought back to life. “Arcticugol” turned it into a tourist destination. Walls were repainted, the interior upgraded, they one of the buildings into a hotel, and built a new power plant. A couple of years ago, they even built a museum.
You could reach the Pyramid by boat or snowmobile from Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Norwegian Svalbard province. There are not too many guests, but from time to time the 30 people who live in the village all year round, get work.