Travel and Adventure 05 January 2014 23 1097

Spitsbergen: The long dark night


On the icy island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean, people are outnumbered by polar bears and snowmobiles are used rather than cars. Its long Arctic night starts in November, and the sun doesn't return for months. In addition to the Norwegians who maintain nominal control of Spitsbergen, the island is home to the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, a "company town" that is run by Arktikugol, a Russian state coal mining company. Its hardy employees and their spouses and children brave the elements to maintain the small community of less than 500 people. 



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