by Chris Searston
Pyramiden is a Russian settlement on Svalbard, founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, Pyramiden was closed in 1998 and has since remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place, the cold climate preserving much of what has been left behind when it was evacuated with 2 hours notice by the motherland.
Just on the outskirts of the former coal mining town stands The Bottle House.
The Bottle House seems to have been constructed purely as a sheltered drinking spot for the local miners and residents, but what makes it curious is the construction of the walls – made from empty vodka and other spirit bottles.
I first visited Pyramiden in 1993 when it was a working town and vodka was supplied to the miners and staff practically free. Litre bottles had metal flip-top lids so once opened with a bottle opener they weren’t expected to be sealed again…
Care had been taken to create a stained glass window effect in the drinking house by using different coloured bottles, but if you look closely there seems to be an area where they lost the symmetry of the pattern.
I wonder if they were having to drink the contents of their raw building materials at the same time as they were actually making the wall? Hic.