Cultural heritage of Spitsbergen

The Svalbard Environmental Act establishes that all traces of human activity from before 1946 are protected. This applies both to permanent cultural monuments such as sites, graves, erected buildings and facilities of any kind, and loose objects. (quoted)

So… you can trash the delicate vegetation of Spitsbergen, like lichen which grows very slowly (sometimes not more than 0.1 mm per year), with your Arctic boots, but you shall not step on a piece of wood, because this just might be dated from before 1946…

The main human activity in Spitsbergen used to be coal mining, but I understood that this was never really profitable. All silent witnesses of the mining activities, like collapsed mines shafts, rusty tools, abandoned cabins and even old garments still hanging in those cabins are now part of the cultural heritage.

During our trip in Spitsbergen we visited several abandoned sites. I’m not sure about the “cultural” or “heritage” in theses places, as a wildlife photographer I always struggling with the so-called urbex-photography, the least I can say is that it’s historical.

An abandoned coal mine in Longyearbyen.CVZ6D_20170913-094 WEB

Abandoned cabin at SkansbuktaCVZ6D_20170916-041 WEB

Some pieces of cultural heritage your not allowed to step on…CVZ60D_20170916-201 WEB

Abandoned cabin for mine workers in Colesbukta, everything was still there; beds, clothes, cans, bottle, even an old fireplace, which had definitely caught fire, was still intact.CVZ6D_20170918-143 WEB

Found an old box with rusty nailsCVZ6D_20170918-174 WEB

The Jetty at Colesbukta and our beautiful ship “Noorderlicht” in the background.CVZ6D_20170918-121 WEB

Some old rusty tool on the beach of Colesbukta. It looked like a sort of crane…. still not sure what is was.CVZ6D_20170918-071 WEB

More photos of my trip to Spitsbergen can be found with this link

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