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Panoramas Billefjord Nord

Panoramas from the abandoned Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden are further down on this site.


Urmstonfjellet is towering high above its icy surroundings south of upper Nordenskiöldbreen. This is the amazing view from its northeastern corner. In the west, you can see Billefjord and, if you look carefully, the Russian settlement Pyramiden. The huge glacier Nordenskiöldbreen is dominating much of the scenery. In the east, it leads up to the ice cap Lomonossovfonna.

The impressive calving cliff of Nordenskiöldbreen in early May.

As so many of its kind, Nordenskiöldbreen has retreated in recent years and thus some small, rocky islets came out under the ice – again, as they had been ice-free before and were covered by the glacier during an advance. The rocks are amongst the oldest known in Spitsbergen.

Frozen lake between Ragnarbreen and its moraine.

Hørbyebreen northwest of Petuniabukta. The mountains there are amongst the most beautiful ones in Spitsbergen, including the ciant stone spider Tarantellen. Geologically, the area is also very interesting: the Billefjorden Fault Zone, an important set of now inactive geological „cracks“, is well visible there. Hørbyebreen is in winter part of the route to Pyramiden, in summer it is a possible trekking route to Ålandsvatnet and Austfjord.

Upper Hørbyebreen.

Petuniabukta: Ebbadalen

The increasingly strong spring sun has melted, or rather vaporized, much of the snow here in lower Ebbadalen on the east side of Petuniabukta, giving way to a desert-like impression of spring in the arctic.

A unique bit of scenery in inner Ebbadalen, where a waterfall is frozen solid in winter. Wide areas of mirror-like ice cover the valley floor between moraine hills and glacier-polished rock slopes.


This area in central Pyramiden was a meadow of grasses from Siberia, where only children and reindeer were allowed to roam until the settlement was abandoned in 1998. The sign of the mining company and of course Lenin are amongst Pyramiden’s most popular photo objects. The Lenin bust is probably the northernmost one of its kind, unless there is another one somewhere in those few parts of the Russian arctic which are even further north. I have been to the old station on Rudolf Island in northern Franz Josef Land and I haven’t seen any Lenin there. Let me know if you know of any Lenin further north.

The entrance hall of the culture house behind the Lenin statue.

The sports hall is also part of this sovjet-style culture house.

One of several rooms on the second floor of the culture house.

The swimming hall is in a separate building not far from the culture house, next to the open air sports arena “Gagarin”.

Large room on the second floor of a house between hotel and culture house.

A large building with accommodation for miners. Today, it is only inhabitated by Kittywakes that nest in the window frames, making a lot of noise. You can also see hotel Tulipan (tulip).

Bar and restaurant of Hotel Tulipan, not long after the re-opening of the hotel in spring 2013. Not a bad place to spend some time: the service was surprisingly good and the food rich, but Russian style: don’t be surprised about chicken and rice for breakfast. The prices remind, however, of western capitalism, Longyearbyen-style.

Room in hotel Tulipan. Every room has its own toilet. But the shower is somewhere else and costs 50 NOK extra.

The “bottle house”

The famous “bottle house” just outside of Pyramiden on the settlement’s western side (away from the fjord). One can only guess how much time it took them to get the building materials ready 😉 Said to be 5308 bottles! The bottle house was built in 1983.


last modification: 2014-04-19 · copyright: Rolf Stange