After A Deadly Plane Crash Claimed The Lives Of 141 People In 1966, This Arctic Mining Town Was Abandoned

Viktor Posnov - - illustrative purposes only

On a Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle, there is an abandoned coal mining town called Pyramiden.

A long time ago, it was home to hundreds of men from the Soviet Union. For decades, the town was even considered a Soviet utopia until a tragic plane crash caused everyone to leave the island.

The island is part of the archipelago of Svalbard. Vikings may have lived within the cluster of islands as early as the 12th century C.E., but the first recorded visit was by a Dutch sailor in the 16th century.

Afterward, Svalbard became a place that traders and hunters stopped at frequently. By the 20th century, some countries wanted to turn it into a coal mining site.

In 1920, Norway was granted ownership of the islands. The Soviet Union was also given mining rights, so in 1927, they bought the town of Pyramiden, which was named for the pyramid-shaped mountain that towered over the area. By the 1950s, the town had grown into an exemplary model of Soviet culture.

Many modern Soviet-style structures were built, including a hospital, a cemetery, a cafeteria, a recreation center, greenhouses, and a popular drinking spot called the “Bottle House.”

The recreation center had a heated swimming pool, a basketball court, a library, a movie theater, and a music hall.

There were also residence halls to which people were assigned. For example, the “London” hall was for single men, and “Paris” was for single women. Short-term workers stayed at the “Hotel,” while families with kids lived in the “Crazy House.”

At its peak during the Cold War, the town of Pyramiden housed over 1,000 people. Residents were able to enjoy its luxuries for nearly 70 years.

Viktor Posnov – – illustrative purposes only

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