SMAPSE often talks about interesting places on Earth and sights that are worth a separate trip. However, among such finds there are not just remarkable places, but whole cities that cause amazement and genuine curiosity. SMAPSE experts will tell you about one northern kingdom today!
Northern, but by no means Venice
Today's character is the Norwegian city of Longyearbyen, the northernmost settlement in the world, located in the Arctic Ocean on the Spitsbergen archipelago. Here there is a "classic" arctic climate - above zero temperatures are no more than 3 months a year, the average summer temperature is 6-7 degrees Celsius. The maximum was in July 1979 = +21.3 degrees Celsius, but the minimum is more impressive - minus 46.3 degrees Celsius (March 1986). Wow spring, huh?
The polar day and the polar night are clearly expressed here (after all, outside the Arctic Circle), therefore the bright sun in the middle of the night will not surprise anyone.
The remoteness and closedness of the city give it its advantages. For example, Longyearbyen has a special repository in permafrost at a depth of 130 meters: it houses the World Seed Sample Repository. In the event that a global catastrophe catches the planet, the main crops can be revived.
Life at the ends of the earth
The population of Longyearbyen is just over 1000 people: they are mainly engaged in tourism (yes, yes!), Polar exploration and coal mining (well, and some other minerals). By the way, the city has a special status, which allows citizens of other countries to engage in economic activities here.
Due to the remoteness and severity of the geographical conditions, local residents have several special rules of life, features of the way:
- By car, you will drive a maximum along the streets of the city plus a couple of kilometers outside of it, around - further only by helicopter, snowmobile or boat. Extreme enthusiasts appreciate special bikes with studded wide wheels, but this is a test for the strong in spirit.
- The first thing that young people are taught here is the ability to shoot. The area around is teeming with polar bears, so the issue of safety stands apart: of course, the animals are protected, and no one hunts them just like that, but a warning shot in the air can sometimes save lives. However, due to the prevalence of weapons, safety rules have also been introduced for "human" public places: for example, at the entrance to the bank of Longyearbyen, you will see safes in which you must hide your gun.
- There are no large clinics and hospitals in the city, so pregnant women who will soon give birth and seriously ill patients are transported to the mainland.
- But death is forbidden in Longyearbyen! It is permafrost here, so the bodies do not decompose - but the smell will be very appetizing for polar bears. It is not entirely clear why not just build a crematorium - in the meantime, the deceased are also sent to rest on the mainland.
- Norwegians believe that such wayward creatures as cats can disrupt the balance of the local ecosystem, because there are almost no whiskered stripes on the island. However, this rule does not apply to dogs at all - almost every resident has them: husky, Chow Chow and Alaskan Malamute breeds are popular.