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Svalbard. What we didn't know about him


If the Russian winter is not enough for you, go to Svalbard. Having seen enough of the art house about the remote northern territories, one is drawn to look at the local beauties and feel the uniqueness of the inhabited northern latitudes.

The Norwegians call these lands "Svalbard", for the rest of the world it is "Svalbard". Norwegian Svalbard is one of the northernmost settlements in the world. In winter, the skies blaze with the northern lights, and summer brings the polar day, when the sun does not go below the horizon for days on end.

The Doomsday Vault

Svalbard has a modern "Noah's Ark" – the World Seed Storage Facility (Svalbard Globale frøhvelv), in which samples of seeds of major crops are placed for safe storage.

The repository began its work on February 26, 2008, on the island of West Svalbard near the city of Longyearbyen. The aim of the project is to preserve the seed material of all existing crops in case of natural or man–made disasters.

World Seed Storage, Svalbard

The seed storage facility, with a total area of about 1000 m2, is located in a former coal mine at a depth of 120 m and at an altitude of 130 m above sea level, which guarantees its safety in case of direct hit by a nuclear bomb or sea level rise as a result of global warming. In addition, there are no strong earthquakes in Svalbard, the maximum magnitude is up to 4-5 points on the Richter scale.

The first deposit in the seed vault was delivered to Svalbard in 2021: 30 boxes filled with almost 6,500 seed samples.

The Storage boxes are located in the permafrost zone, the temperature inside is naturally maintained at -3.5 ° C, which then artificially decreases to -18 ° C, which is optimal for long-term storage of seeds.

The former storage of seeds in glass tubes compared to modern aluminum bags. Global Seed Storage in Svalbard

The "Doomsday Bunker" is not an ordinary genetic bank — it is a guaranteed repository designed to store duplicates of all unique seeds preserved by national genetic seed banks. It will be possible to take duplicates from here only if the seeds stored in the original funds have been lost for some reason.

Facts about Svalbard

The Svalbard Archipelago is quite large – its area exceeds 61 thousand km2, which is twice as large as the territory of countries such as Belgium and Lesotho.

About 3,000 people of 42 nationalities live in Svalbard, most of the population is located in the capital of the archipelago — the city of Longyearbyen. The Russian village of Barentsburg, home to 500 people, is the second largest settlement in the entire archipelago.

New Ålesund is one of the four permanent settlements on the island of Svalbard in the Svalbard archipelago. It is one of the northernmost public settlements in the world, where about 30-35 scientists and staff live permanently.

The number of polar bears in Svalbard is about 4 thousand individuals, which exceeds the number of people. Bears in Svalbard are almost the only real threat to the local population. There is no crime in Svalbard.

Polar bear in Svalbard

More than half of the area of Svalbard is occupied by glaciers. They slowly descend from the slopes of the mountains, the highest of which, Mount Newton, is 1,713 meters high.

Two thirds of the archipelago's territory is a specially protected natural area, a nature reserve. In this sense, Svalbard is the largest protected natural site in Europe.

Navigation lighthouse at Cape Festing in the southwest of the Bay of Is Fiord, Svalbard.

The polar day in Svalbard is a week longer than the polar night. 127 days a year there is light around the clock in the archipelago, 120 days — complete darkness. The rest of the year is dominated by polar twilight.

It is legally prohibited to get sick, die and give birth to children on the territory of Longyearbyen. Such restrictions were introduced as measures to preserve the life and care of the residents of the city. Such rules were introduced due to the peculiarities of the Arctic climate. In permafrost conditions, the bodies of dead people are not decomposed, then their smell will attract polar bears. Therefore, there are no human burial sites on the territory of the archipelago. Women in labor and severely ill people are sent to the mainland, as there are no large medical centers in the city.

Summer in Svalbard

Svalbard became the territory of Norway only in 1925. Before that, the archipelago was actually nobody's. Historically, the territory of Svalbard has been a contentious issue between Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia. Today, the island belongs to Norway, but the question of its ownership remains open, territorial disputes are still ongoing.

Residential buildings of Svalbard

Russian Russian Pomors (a small ethnographic and ethnoreligious group of representatives of the Russian people on the coast of the White and Barents Seas) visited Svalbard a century before its official opening in 1596. The Pomors traveled to the local islands for walrus tusks and called this place Grumland (Grumant).

Snow and ice on Svalbard can turn red and pink. This effect is caused by microscopic algae, which, from time to time and under favorable conditions, begin to multiply especially actively. The same effect can sometimes be observed in glaciers.

The Aurora Borealis in Svalbard

The import of any pets to Svalbard is strictly prohibited. The main reason for the ban is sanitary. To protect the wild animal population, a ban on the import and maintenance of any pets has been introduced. In 2021, the last illegal cat, Kesha, who lived on the island and was listed as a "arctic fox" according to documents, died. It is not known for sure by whom and when Kesha was imported.

But there are really a lot of dogs in the archipelago, here it is a privileged caste. The vast majority are huskies, Alaskan malamute and chow chow. Dogs are used in sleds, local residents build special houses for them.

It is customary for locals to take off their shoes at the entrance to the house. This custom originated a century ago among local miners who had a habit of borrowing shoes so as not to carry coal dust into the house.

The most convenient way to get around Svalbard is by snowmobile and boats. There are practically no cars here.

Personal weapons are very common in Svalbard and are used to protect against attacks by a large population of polar bears. Local hotels and bars have special lockers for storing weapons.

Svalbard is quite popular with tourists who come here to admire the unique Arctic nature.

Russians do not need a visa to visit Svalbard. Despite the fact that Svalbard is part of Norway, it does not belong to the countries of the Schengen Agreement. Since entry to the territory of Svalbard is possible only from Norway and a foreign passport and a valid double or multiple-entry Schengen visa are required to travel here. The validity period of the visa must cover the entire duration of the trip, including the days of stay in Svalbard.


March 18, 2024 04:35 am



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