LONGYEARBYEN ARCTIC


Longyearbyen in Norway is the world’s northernmost settlement. It began life as a company town in the early twentieth-century, and mine buildings and infrastructure still pepper the valley sides surrounding the town. It still has more than a thousand permanent residents but mining has been replaced by a burgeoning tourist industry growing around its role as a springboard for polar cruises within the Arctic Circle. The climate is tempered by the North Atlantic and is highly changeable. Low mist, heavy cloud and breaking sun illuminate the ice melt as it runs down the valley floor, where derelict timber structures perch tentatively on the rock faces, stained red by iron oxide and veiled in mysterious mist.  Longyearbyen enjoys midnight sun creating particular midday light casting long crisp shadows in summer when it is accessible to visitors.