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Difference between revisions of "Barentsburg"

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Scandinavia : Norway : Svalbard : Barentsburg
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The Norwegian currency ''kroner'' are used in Barentsburg and prices for touristy activities are adjusted to Norwegian levels.
 
The Norwegian currency ''kroner'' are used in Barentsburg and prices for touristy activities are adjusted to Norwegian levels.
  
* '''Polar Star''', in the cultural center.  Souvenir shop offering ''matryoshka'' dolls, Lenin pins and assorted other Soviet-Russian kitsch along with authentically user-hostile service (or lack thereof).
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* '''Polar Star''', in the cultural center.  Souvenir shop offering ''matryoshka'' dolls, Lenin pins and assorted other Soviet-Russian kitsch.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==

Revision as of 07:23, 16 August 2007

Barentsburg (Баренцбург) is the only remaining Russian settlement in Svalbard.

Barentsburg dock and coal mine

Contents

Understand

Barentsburg is named after Dutch explorer Willem Barentz, who (re)discovered Svalbard in 1596. The Russian-owned Arcticugol Trust has been mining coal here since 1932, and during the Cold War Barentsburg was a veritable hotbed of activity as the Russians attempted to expand their zone of control over the islands. After Pyramiden was closed in 1996, Barentsburg has been the only Russian settlement still operating, with some 700 inhabitants as of September 2005 and some 300,000 tons of coal exported yearly.

Orientation

Orienting yourself in Barentsburg is easy enough. It's some 220 steps up the stairs from the dock to the settlement, where more or less everything is along the main street, ulitsa Ivana Starostina.

Get in

By plane

Barentsburg does not have its own airport, but chartered helicopter transfers (15 min) can be arranged from Longyearbyen if you're really in a hurry.

By boat

Most visitors arrive from Longyearbyen on daytrips (2-3 hours one way by boat). In summer, there are also occasional cargo and passenger boats to Murmansk on the Russian mainland (3 days).

By land

There are no roads to Barentsburg, and it's about three days solid hiking from Longyearbyen to Barentsburg on foot in the summer. In winter, travel by snowmobile is a more popular option and day trips are offered by tour operators in Longyearbyen — it's a fantastic ride and well recommended.

Get around

Barentsburg is easily covered on foot.

See

Lenin, housing blocks and Miru Mir (Peace to the World)

Day-tripping tourists get about 2 hours to see the sights, and for most this is plenty.

  • Chapel. A small wooden chapel, erected in 1996 to commemorate the 140 victims of a plane that crashed while bringing in a new shift of miners to Barentsburg.
  • Lenin statue. It may be only the world's second most northernly statue of Lenin (the top spot still belongs to Pyramiden), but it's still a popular spot to take a picture.
  • Pomor Museum. Stuffed polar bears, a dinosaur footprint and lots of rocks. Entry 35 kr.
  • Star and slogan. Look up on the hillside above Barentsburg — there's a five-pointed star and the Communist-era slogan Miru Mir, or "Peace to the World". The sign also serves a useful function during winter, as when the star becomes visible again, the polar night has ended and summer is coming.

Do

  • Sport Hall. Two swimming pools and assorted other sports facilities.

Buy

Propaganda for souvenirs, Polar Star

The Norwegian currency kroner are used in Barentsburg and prices for touristy activities are adjusted to Norwegian levels.

  • Polar Star, in the cultural center. Souvenir shop offering matryoshka dolls, Lenin pins and assorted other Soviet-Russian kitsch.

Eat

Locals eat cabbage soup in their canteen for free, but tourists will normally be limited to meals at the hotel (30-70 kr).

  • Cafe-Bar 78 Parallel, in the canteen building. The bar is open during tourist season and possibly when major snowmobile tours are in the town.

Drink

The hotel's bar serves up Russian vodka, cognac and champagne.

Sleep

There is precisely one public accommodation option.

  • Barentsburg Hotel. Reasonably new (1988) and in fairly good shape. Double rooms from 550 kr.

Contact

The Barentsburg Hotel has a post office for sending mail. It's a branch of the Longyearbyen post office and thus uses Norwegian stamps (and Norwegian prices), but they do have their own postmark.

There is a small Russian consulate on Barentsburg, which could theoretically issue you a Russian visa. (Don't count on it though, certainly not without checking ahead.)

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