Barentsburg is the second-largest settlement on Svalbard, with about 500 inhabitants, almost entirely Russians and Ukrainians. It is the site of the Barentsburg Pomor Museum.
Named after Dutch explorer Willem Barents, the town is a mining town, with coal mining conducted by the Soviet company Arktikugol since 1932. The population has declined over the decades; in its heyday, over 1,000 Soviet citizens inhabited Barentsburg.
The distance from Longyearbyen to Barentsburg is about 55 kilometres but there are no roads connecting the two settlements. Most contact between the two is by boat, snowmobile, or helicopter. There is a heliport (ICAO code ENBA) with a road connection at Heerodden, 4 kilometres north of Barentsburg. Tourists usually arrive via a 2-3-hour boat trip from Longyearbyen. The coal is freighted by ship. The port is located in the middle of Barentsburg.
Orienting yourself in Barentsburg is easy enough. It's some 220 steps up the stairs from the dock to the settlement, where more or less everything is along the main street, ulitsa Ivana Starostina.
Locals eat cabbage soup (shchi) in their canteen for free, but tourists will normally be limited to meals at the hotel (30-70 kr).
The Cafe-Bar 78 Parallel, in the canteen building right on top of the stairs leading to town is currently closed, accordingly for some "restoration" work.
The hotel's bar serves up Russian vodka, cognac and champagne.
Svalbard is connected to the phone grid in mainland Norway via fiber optic cable. This ensures a good quality telephone coverage in Longyearbyen, Barentsburg, Sveagruva and Ny-Ålesund. The area code for Svalbard is the same as for Norway +47. GSM mobile phones work in Longyearbyen, Svea and Barentsburg. UMTS phones can also be used in Longyearbyen.
See also: International Telephone Calls
There are several public internet terminals in Longyearbyen and internet connections are top class, thanks to NASA renting bulk capacity of undersea fiber optic cables for extreme condition experiments held in Svalbard. GSM/3G phones work in the main towns of Svalbard.
Main to and from Svalbard follows the regular Norwegian system and prices. There is also a Lokalpost system which is used for intra-Svalbard mail.
While mail from Svalbard to mainland Norway and the outside world uses regular Norwegian stamps at regular Norwegian prices, philatelists may be interested in the Lokalpost system used for intra-Svalbard mail. Stamps, first-day covers and more are available at the post offices in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg, as well as at Longyearbyen's Svalbardbutikken.
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