How To Get From Norwegian To Russian Territory In Svalbard (Longyearbyen) | CruiseBe
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How To Get From Norwegian To Russian Territory In Svalbard

Sergey Dolya • 6 minutes read • April 6th, 2016

Before I tell you about Barentsburg, I should explain how it happened that a Russian town turned out to be in Norway. In short, the debate about who owns


lasted a long time. According to one argument, this archipelago was opened by the Vikings, and according to another - by the Pomors. The end of the long lawsuit was settled by the Svalbard Treaty in 1920. Under the terms of this document, administration of the territory was taken over by Norway but Russia has the right to exploit the natural resources of Svalbard and its territorial waters. So, today, Russia mines coal in five areas of the archipelago.
The distance from the Norwegian 


to the Russian Barentsburg is 34 miles (55 km). However, there are no roads between the settlements: they can be reached either by air or by water. During the summer, the last option is the most popular. Now I invite you to take a virtual tour along the rocky shores of the archipelago...

When we arrived at the port, we saw people dressed in orange, used to trudge into the water. They were students at the University Centre in Svalbard, who experienced the swimming suits. According to local regulations, any access to the sea should be done in such costumes (we had similar ones, only cold-proof):

Students are trained this way because they ride in a vehicle that travels by land and water. 

They practiced rescue activities and "splashed" in the icy water. I froze up just looking at them:

Every time we got into the boat, even if we had to sale just 5 minutes to the next landing, we put on our suits. And this was our transport:

In the middle there is a row of seats with backs on which you must sit astride, like on a horse. But you can compactly fit a big group of tourists:

Meanwhile we left Longyearbyen and headed toward Barentsburg:

Dockage facilities settled along the coast:

Here you can see the airport building and tourist tents on the coast. Many travelers do not want to stay at the hotel and settle outside:

After a few miles an interesting phenomenon begins - local weekend chalets.
Every decent Norwegian should have a weekend chalet, and living in a tiny village where the amount of the deer is bigger than the people does not remove the duty to own it. People come here for the weekend and enjoy a truly reclusive holiday:

The fundamental difference from the workers houses is that the cottage are placed right on the coast. Although I doubt that the locals feel the lack of the ocean in their lives:

The road from these "cottages" to the main houses in Longyearbyen, takes 10 minutes to drive through by car:  

Tourist boats, like ours, travel in the opposite direction:

And this is a local's boat:

This is a cruise ship. By the way, it also comes to Barentsburg:

These are the empty houses of the abandoned Soviet village of 


. The name of the settlement derives from the old name of Spitsbergen, given by the Pomors:

Previously, there was a mine, which was exhausted. We wanted to stop there on our way back but there was a strong wind and waves, so we rejected the idea:

Roche, which was lifted from the mine, created such unusually gross (according to local standards) vegetation to grow on the slopes:

Nowhere else in Svalbard did I see such vibrant, natural colors:

And here is a rusty stream from the mine:

And this is the exit from the mine:

Another old Soviet mine between Grumant and Barentsburg. This is the Kolsbey mine:

It no longer works:  

The weather changes constantly: in a few minutes the mountain appeared and then disappeared under the layered clouds:

This is the first cape on the way to Barentsburg. You can see the local airport and heliport:

The village is located in the bay of the fjord. While sailing to it we noticed the mine's car jettisoning waste rock to the quarry:

It did not rain but the weather was depressing. Everything was covered in fog, creating a dreary gloom:

So, Barentsburg! To be honest, I was expecting to see an old dead village but I was pleasantly surprised.
Author: Sergeydolya

Translated by: Gian Luka

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