Country: Svalbard  Region: Europe
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Longyearbyen Info

Longyearbyen, (pronounced 'lungyer-bin'), is the largest populated area and the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago.


Longyearbyen is the largest populated area on the terrirory of Svalbard, located in the high Norwegian Arctic. The settlement is popular as the most easily accessed frontier in the Arctic, and is an ideal base for the greater exploration of Svalbard.
The settlement is named after American entrepreneur John Munro Longyear (1860-1922), who as head of the Arctic Coal Company founded the town and the neighboring coal mine, the first large mine on Svalbard. Mining is still a big business here, with the roadsides and mountainsides littered with mines and their equipment, but tourism is catching up fast.
With nearly 2000 inhabitants, the town is the de facto "capital" of the islands, featuring the airport, a school, a shopping center, hotels, restaurants, and more.


Longyearbyen lies at the southern side of Adventfjorden, stretched out along the Longyearelva River. The center of town lies near the coast on the east side of the river, with the district of Skjæringa across the river, the district of Nybyen 2 km (1.2 mile) to the south and the airport 3 km (1.9 mile) to the west. Adventdalen, the valley housing Longyearbyen's only currently operational mine (#7), stretches out to the east.
Be sure to pick up the free Longyearbyen 78° North pamphlet (available at the airport and most lodges), which has a detailed map of the city and listings of all its facilities.

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