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Barentsburg: Harbour

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The har­bour of Bar­ents­burg may be in need of some repair (work in pro­cess), but it used to have a gre­at advan­ta­ge during the 20th cen­tu­ry com­pa­red to Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Pyra­mi­den: the fjord, Grønfjord, free­zes later and the ice breaks up ear­lier, so the ship­ping sea­son was signi­fi­cant­ly lon­ger. Ear­ly in the 20th cen­tu­ry, ships could go along­side in the har­bour or not far away at the ice edge in spring or in the ear­ly sum­mer, while pro­vi­si­ons and pas­sen­gers with desti­na­ti­on Lon­gye­ar­by­en had to wait for weeks or face a trans­fer of some­ti­mes 30-40 kilo­me­tres across the ice of Isfjord. Which was not fro­zen every year in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry eit­her, but it was not uncom­mon. If we get to see that again now? That seems rather doubt­ful in the light (or, rather, shadow) of cli­ma­te chan­ge, which also means Bar­ents­burg has lar­ge­ly lost this stra­te­gi­cal advan­ta­ge in com­pa­ri­son to Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

The old har­bour office buil­ding has been empty for many years now. But the sign “Bar­ents­burg”, the old, solid mine tele­pho­ne (impos­si­ble to break, but only for local con­nec­tions) and the gar­ba­ge bin in shape of a pen­gu­in (other­wi­se qui­te rare in the Arc­tic) are nevertheless popu­lar pho­to moti­ves for visi­tors.

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last modification: 2018-11-11 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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