Pyramiden (named for the pyramid-shaped mountain looming over the valley settlement) is a coal mining settlement located on the Svalbard archipelago that was abandoned around the turn of the millennium. The last coal was extracted from the mine on the 31 March 1998.
Although Svalbard is under Norwegian sovereignty (following the Svalbard treaty, 1920), Pyramiden was a Russian settlement – you can catch a glimpse of a statue of Lenin at the site in the video above.
Reporting on Pyramiden for the BBC Alex Kirby described the place as the abomination of desolation following it’s abandonment, and as a place where humanity is pulling out, cutting its losses, leaving behind its nightmares and its dreams.
The settlement was ultimately abandoned as the coal mines were never profitable. The settlement is nothing muh more than a ghost town today. In fact, National Geographic listed Pyramiden as number seven in their list of top ten ghost towns.
Photographer Elin Andreassen visited Pyramiden in 2006, and again in 2011. You can see some of the images she captured and read a wonderful account from her on the Ruin Memories website here.
As I’m gathering inspiration, information, and resources ahead of my expedition themes of permanence, or lack thereof, are recurring time an again. Whether that be melting sea ice, or the migration of people to and from these regions.