Living in the world’s most northerly town where no one is allowed to die

Fans of Sky televisions “Fortitude” will recognise that the inspiration for the show and is desolate arctic location were taken from the town of Longyearbyen in Norway.

Located on the island of Spitsbergen, 600 miles south of the North Pole where for four months of the year the sun never sets and where for another four months people live in total darkness, Longyearbyen is about as isolated as you can get.

To put Longyearbyen’s isolated location into perspective no Indigenous people have ever settled here, just people brought in to work in the nearby coal mines.

Outnumbered by Polar Bears, people carry a rifle with them no matter where they go and while attacks on humans are rare, people feel it is better to be safe than sorry.

Curious facts about the town are that no cats are allowed so as not to endanger the protected birds on the island and despite everyone having a high-powered rifle they are not allowed to be brought inside any of the town’s buildings.

Dying in Longyearbyen is also forbidden due to the town being built on permafrost that does not allow a body to decompose. If a person does die their body has to be shipped back to Norway for burial.

Having said this there is a small cemetery on the edge of town where miners were buried up until 1950 but it was closed down due to a fear that the cryogenically preserved bodies in the cemetery could still contain traces of the deadly Spanish flu virus that had killed seven miners back in 1918.

If you think an arctic adventure is just your cup of tea you can get to the world’s most northerly airport by flying from Oslo. The journey time takes three hours with prices varying with the time of year.

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