Arctic cruise to Pyramiden
An abandoned Russian mining town full of history
Information about Pyramiden
This Russian mining town that used to be the largest settlement in Svalbard. Abandoned
in 1998, it must have been impressive in the 1970s and 1980s, with wide avenues and lawns, Soviet architecture, and lots of families. Today it is a very eerie and atmospheric, with the mining facilities falling apart over quite a large area, on the flats and the hills above the town. There are the various Soviet era structures and artwork, including the school playground, the cultural center, the food hall, and the most northerly swimming pool in the World (dry now) and bust of Lenin. There is a hotel, still open, with a bar that you can visit. But you need to go with someone with a rifle, since bears do roam through town! It is also a good place to see Arctic Fox, and one of the most reliable places to see the Ptarmigan, the ‘Arctic’ grouse. The name comes from the shape of the mountain behind the town, which adds to the character of the place.
Interesting facts about Pyramiden
It is a very bizarre place that could be the film set for a disaster movie or James Bond. For guests on expedition cruise ships, some love it, some do not, preferring visits to natural parts of Svalbard. This means Expedition Leaders may choose not to visit Pyramiden and for those that stay on for a few days after the cruise, the day trip from Longyearbyen to Pyramiden is highly recommended, often combined with the boat going past Skansbukta to look for Puffins.