Sunday, September 21, 2008

I've been to Russia circa 1972

Yes it has taken me a while, but I am FINALLY getting the last of my Svalbard posts up. Saved this one for last, as it still sort of blows my mind.

I give you...Pyramiden. Russia circa 1972.

The sign of the town. This was actually put up later, I am told, and they are trying to encourage the tourist industry. Pyramiden is a ghost town.

Tracks to nowhere.

Detail of the side of a building. There was some massive architecture there, this building was built in the 80's.

Nobody at the hotel. The boarded up windows are now home to thousands of Arctic terns. Noisy smelly birds. ugh.

A coal factory. It was huge.

The irrepressible scavenging David finding more stuff on the ground. He really wanted to take this sign with him, along with his deer antlers and assorted dead-thingy-bits, but I'm pretty sure the keeper of the town (there are maybe 5 people living there to continue the environmental clean up and greet the few tourists) would not have liked him taking the artifacts. Behind him is older housing for coal workers.

Me, Lenin and a baby doll. One of the few remaining in-situ Lenin statues, and most certainly the one that is farthest north.

The inside of the sports and recreation complex. It was strangely familiar in feeling (I grew up with this sort of 70's architecture) yet unsettling in its dusty emptiness. Like school just got out and they would all be back tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes.

Detail of the sports recreation complex. Pyramiden was abandoned for good in 1996. People left with what belongings they could and the rest was left behind.

The music room, abandoned instruments.

The film projecting room.

70's mirrored ceiling, arty picture time!

Totally awesome bar at the Hotel Pyramiden (we did get to go in). It was open until not long ago. Our manly man in charge, Erling, told us about the many times he came drinking here and what a great bar it was. It certainly was cool looking, I'd love to open something that looks similar in Austin. Every surface was textured in some way, nothing was left untouched. So completely retro, in perfect shape, even to the padded satin walls behind the bar.

Strange art in strange places. Happy and sad.

Arctic terns on an electric line, in the background the coal mine and distribution system.

Abandoned baby doll. Up above stands the Lenin statue. Remains of a lost ideology.

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