Gagarin Sport Complex Pyramiden
THE ABANDONED POOL ON SVALBARD
The ‘Gagarin Sport Complex at Pyramiden’ houses the northernmost swimming pool. The Pyramiden Sport Complex used to be part of a small Russian mining settlement on the Svalbard island chain called Pyramiden.
Many of the miners in this small town were sportsmen. In the spare time sports and culture was arranged and it was a goal that as many as possible took part in these activities.
The ‘Gagarin Sport Complex’ at Pyramiden was named after Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit Earth. His capsule, Vostok 1, completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation’s highest honour.
Pyramiden’s heated indoor pool was the best in Svalbard. The kids from Longyearbyen used to go there to use the swimming pool. The beautiful indoor swimming pool feature Soviet era architecture and bear witness to the settlement’s golden days. It was quite impressive in its day. Pyramiden was a good place to live with a family-friendly community.
Pyramiden was abandoned in 1998. The residents never returned, and today the town still stands much as it was when the last men departed. I visited the Pyramiden Sport Complex in 2018. Click here for more Svalbard reports.