Barentsburg

Barentsburg (Grumant in Russian) is a small Russian settlement in Svalbard (a group of islands north from Norway), with about of 700 inhabitants registered in September 2005. An interesting fact about this small town is that it is one of the most northerly settlement in Europe. Barentsburg has been inhabitated by Russians since 1932, and get his peak during Cold War as the Russia tried to expand zone of control.
Although island is under the Norwegian sovereignty, Russian citizens have the equal rights to exploit natural resources. Also Russia maintain a consulate in Barentsburg. Main business in Barentsburg is coal mining. The tourism is only in beginning but all that is not enough to revive the town.
Norwegian town Longyearbyean is maybe 55 km far and has already well developed “adventure tourism”. Life for people there is not easy. After cold war and collapse of the USSR, Russia cut out the funds for the town. Other Russian settlement Pyramiden was abandoned in 1998 and it is now a ghost town. Barentsburg does not have an airport, but helicopter transfer can be arranged from Longyearbyen. Most, if not all, visitors arrive from Longyearbyen on daytrips by boat. Over summer there is also occasional cargo and passenger boats to Murmansk (Russia mainland).
Daily tourists get 2 hours to see the attraction and for most people that is enough. Also there is one public accommodation option which is reasonably decent because it is relativly new (built in 1988). Double rooms are from 550 Kr and meals at the hotel are from 30 to 70 Kr. The Hotel has a post office.

Some pictures of Barentsburg

Some of pictures taken by
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/
(more pictures there )

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