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Norwegian ghost town appears on top ten list

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Norwegian ghost town appears on top ten list
Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen (File)
10:55 CET+01:00
The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is home to one of the world's foremost ghost town destinations, according to a report in National Geographic.

Once a Soviet mining outpost, the town of Pyramiden now rots imperceptibly, although its well-built shiplap barracks retain their brown and green paint.

The USSR bought the settlement from Sweden in 1927, and the town soon became home to a 1,000-strong community of miners. Located on the island of Spitsbergen, the town once boasted a large indoor swimming pool, library, theatre and a music room complete with piano.

The piano, books and swimming pool still haunt the town, which was abandoned quickly during the Russian currency crisis of 1998.

Svalbard is run by Norwegian governors and their deputies whose main gripe with Pyramiden is that the Russians who share the archipelago refuse to remove old oil drums that pose an environmental risk.

Svalbard's deputy governor for environmental issues, Rune Bergstrøm told public broadcaster NRK that Norway would assist any Russian effort to clean up the town to boost tourism.

Pyramiden is ranked seventh on National Geographic's list of global ghost town favourites, which also includes sites in Italy, Turkey, Spain and the USA.

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