THE ABANDONED FARM AT SPITSBERGEN
This is the abandoned ‘Pyramiden Farm’. Pyramiden is a deserted Russian mine village on Svalbard. The town and farm were abandoned in 1998.
Dutch explorers Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerck discovered Svalbard in June 1596. In 1910 the Swedes discovered coal in the mountains. The mining settlement was named Pyramiden, after the pyramid shaped mountain close by. The village and mine was sold to the USSR in 1927. At first, Pyramiden was a sleepy place, with hardly any residents at all. But after the Second World War, the Soviets invested more money in the town.
Pyramiden had over a thousand inhabitants in its heyday. Its agriculture was organized along the lines of Soviet collective farming, and included a vegetable greenhouse and this animal farm housing dairy cattle, pigs, hens and a single horse. Consequently, hey focused on own production of milk, meat, eggs, and vegetables. Of course, fish was also on the menu. The farm and slaughterhouse were built in 1972. Later in 1985, the large greenhouse was built. In fact, for some time, the production surplus was such that eggs could be exported to Longyearbyen.
Other food supplies were shipped to Pyramiden and made it a settlement in abundance. In fact, all food was free of charge from 1958. In the 1980s the share of women and children grew, more than 1,000 people lived in Pyramiden. Farming continued following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, until the settlement was closed down.
Pyramiden was abandoned in 1998. The residents never returned, and today the town still stands much as it was when the last men departed. The photos of Pyramiden Farm were taken in 2018 during my Spitsbergen trip. See more locations from this Island at the North Pole here.