THE ABANDONED RESTAURANT ON SVALBARD
This is Pyramiden Cafeteria, the restaurant of the local Soviet mine. The village and buildings were abandoned in 1998.
After the Second World War, the Soviets put more money into this Russian mining settlement. Consequently they constructed dozens of new buildings, including this large cafeteria. Eyecatcher is the giant mosaic in the restaurant, representing the Svalbard landscape populated by heroes of Norse legends. Svalbard is the name for the island chain where Pyramiden can be found. The islands are part of Norway and are located in the Arctic Ocean, north of the Arctic Circle.
Pyramiden Cafeteria was, like the rest of the town owned by the mining company. Besides a big dining room there is also a huge kitchen and several refrigerated rooms. Food was shipped to Pyramiden every year. But it also had its own farm and greenhouse. Most importantly, all food was free of charge from 1958.
Coal mining was discontinued in 1998. As a result the mine and town were abandoned. The residents never returned, and today the town still stands much as it was when the last men departed. I visited the Pyramiden Cafeteria in 2018 on my Svalbard trip.