Monday, 24 April 2017

the reborn (?) Russian Arctic ghost village from 'Leviathan'

This is northeastern Russian Arctic territory, close to Finnish Lapland; so geographically we are still in Europe, and civilization is somehow nearby.

Murmansk and Arkhangelsk display the nuclear-powered Russian fleet, its most powerful icebreakers and submarines; Gazprom reigns with large fields of oil and gas extracting and processing plants west of Novaya Zemlya.

Teriberka might be developed and wealthy as it neighbours oil and gas fields.

The recent movie masterpiece Leviathan, by Andrey Zvyagintsev, was mostly shot in Teriberka, a village by the Barents sea; it showed with bitter humour the lifestiles from the past and the present day corruption.

Teriberka is located more precisely west of the White Sea, on the Kola peninsula. Before the film was shot, it was just a ghost town of ruined houses and boat skiffs amidst polluted water and muddy ground. Now it's a tourist attraction.

Teriberka belongs to the Murmansk district, and was built on a flat tundra terrain.

The village was born around a small shipyard.

Teriberka was founded in the 19th century, neighbouring a ship repair yard and a fish processing factory. Codfish and haddock abounded then and the population reached some 5000. But excessive fishing and bad planning quickly exhausted the maritime resources and ruined the economy.


Coordinates: 69° 10′ N, 35º 10' E
           300 km north of the Arctic Circle.
Population: ~ 1000

This is "new" Teriberka !

Remote, cold, poor and difficult to reach, Teriberka became world known the day a filming crew arrived to shoot Leviathan. Notoriety grew when the movie won a Gold Award in 2015, and became a symbol for the almost romantic, epic, soviet failure.

Apartment blocks from the 1920s  with fissured walls and uncovered rotten brick.

By the end of the 19th century, the main buildings were a metereological station, the lighthouse, school and church; people (mostly Sami) lived from rein herding, as they were still a semi-nomadic population. Then came badly planned industrilization and the building of appalling residencial blocks. The fisheries went down , only carcasses of ships remain along the coast to remind of the sea based prosperity.

There is one called "old" Teriberka, made of wooden houses or cabins and boat skiffs close to a sea inlet; and a "new" Teriberka, more widely open to the sea, bordering the abandoned shipyards, built of semi-empty decaying blocks of the last century.

This wooden two-story dwelling, probably the best in Teriberka, was the family house in 'Leviathan'.

At over 69º N latitude, the whole year is lived in cold weather, reaching down to -20º C. The short Summer - a month to fifty days - rarely warms up to 14 º.

Covered by ice, the road is even a little more serviceable.

Entry to town.

The 'town centre': the blue church and the yellow school.

Industrial soviet derelict

Image from 'Leviathan'.

During daytime some people can be seen walking, but by night the village is deserted; uncovered and  bumpy walls, where holes open instead of windows, a very creepy ambiance:

Even the inevitable Christmas tree is not able to break the gloominess.

Amid the decaying blocks, the new school is like a sign of renovated future:

The only joyful, colored place.

So the investment in tourism came as a surprise. Someone had the brilliant idea of making profit out of ruins, like the antiquity shops do. So they built a tourist village, quite red as it should be expected, and a folk festival  was added; alltogether it's Teriberka's New Life !

"Teriberka, New Life" (новая жизнь) is now in its 3rd season.

Native people are the Sami, also known as Lapps, traditionally reindeer herders; some 2000 in Kola peninsula.

Tourist Apartaments with orthodox chapel.

Always present a handicraft saling stall.

To reach Teriberka, the distance of 90 km from Murmansk must be run on a muddy road through the wet and undulating tundra, where some shrubs are the only sight over desolation.

In winter, the road is frequently impracticable, but under snow things get much better. Like the whole landscape - under the white cap, all ugliness is disguised and landscape even gets to look beautiful.

Close by, to the North at the Barents, an immense wealthiness is accumulated by oil and gas industry. From that, Teriberka receives only an tiny fraction : tourist visitors. And even that thanks to a film which is mostly hated in Russia, but was prized in the Western world.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Tvøroyri, small port town in the southernmost Faroë Island

Tvøroyri is the main village on the island of Suðuroy, the southernmost of the Faroë Islands, on the North Atlantic.

The small fishing town is located at the bottom of the fiord Trongisvágsfjørður.

Tvøroyri sits like a ribbon-shaped urban agglomeration along the north shore.

The historic waterfront of Tvøroyri, at left, faces the main harbour across the fiord.

The setting is typical of a nordic fiord.

Tvøroyri, Sudoroy, Faroë Islands

Coordinates: 61° 33′ N, 6° 48′ W
Population: ~ 1750

The old warfs have been restored, as they are the village's first impression.

This is now a leisure area, quite lively in summer.

The M/S Thorshavn (built in oak and beech, Denmark, 1940) now serving tourist cruises.

The Sail Loft (Seglloftið)

This was the old sail making house.

As part of of the old merchant port, the building is now a cultural venue, as are the black painted old warfs.

The most famous window in Tvøroyri...

... and its view: the old Krambúðin.


Krambúð means shop in Faroese.

The first house to be built in Tvøroyri was the old shop, which the Royal Trading Monopoly built in 1836. Since 1856 this building has been known as Krambuðin (grocery shop).

The interior has only undergone minor changes and still has the appearance of a grocery shop from the old days with shelves and drawers and the original National cash register from 1872.

Tvøroyri Museum Doktarahúsið

In the vicinity of the quay, the local maritime museum is installed in the old doctor's surgery, kept authentic with a grass roof.

Doktarahúsið, the Doctor's House.

This museum tells the local history of Tvøroyri and the fiord area around. It is a historical and maritime museum.

The building is one of the first built in Tvøroyri, from 1852.

Cast iron work

Traditional faroese dress and jewelry.

Gallari Oyggin

The Gallari Oyggin ('Island Gallery') is situated on the main street in Tvøroyri. There are sculptures in the garden and on the parking spot, opposite the gallery.

The owner is Palle Julsgart, who is an artist himself. The Oyggin Gallery has shifting exhibitions with guest exhibitors from the Faroe Islands and from other countries. The café in the gallery serves light dishes and drinks.


The shop

Tangabúðin, Sjógøta (Opposite of the Art Gallery Oyggin).

Owned also by Palle Julsgart, this cosy little shop opposite of the Art Gallery sells gifts, books and framed works from local artists. On the square next to the shop there are several sculptures.

Tvøroyri church

On the east side of the village, high on a hillside over of the town, and visible from far away.

The prebuilt wooden church was shipped to Tvøroyri and assembled in 1907.

The fiord and the water festival Jóansøka

Tvøroyri harbour is protected as heritage but also for its strategic value. Twelve fishing vessels have their home port here. As measured by the fleet, this is the fifth most important port of the North Atlantic archipelago.

The island's traditional boat, called 'Smyril'.

Each year Tvøroyri and Vágur take turns with the celebration of a midsummer festival, called Jóansøka, the St John's feast.

Several proofs of rowing take place in traditional smyril boats.

The modern ferry, baptised Smyril V, watchimg protectively a Smyrill race.

This festival takes place every year on the weekend that falls closest to June 24 (St. John's day).

Jóansøka in uptown Tvøroyri.

The daily ferry from Tórshavn docks at Drelnes, opposite on the south shore of the fjord. The crossing from Tórshavn takes about a half hour with the new ferry Smyril V. The ferry serves not only passenger transport, but also trade with the outside world.

The new ferry sailing past Tvøroyri.

The winter snow brings a different look to the town and the fiord:

The church, above the town's main street.

Trongisvagur river mouth, into the fiord.

The Park of Trongisvágur

A popular excursion destination is the forest Viðarlundin í Trongisvági , one of the largest of the Faroë Islands, which are mostly treeless. It consists mainly of spruce, pine and ash and is located about 1 km west of the town.

The Faroese word Viðarlundin means little forest or little plantation.

The Faroë Islands, with their moist cool climate and salty air, are not suitable for the prosperity of trees; the soil crumb is also relatively thin and offers little support.

The road around Suðuroy offers some Faroë typical panoramics - a treeless but green covered land above large sea views.

One of the finest views is the Lilla Dímun island, close to the east coast of Suðuroy.

The west coast is quite more wild and rugged.

Under winter snow, Suðuroy has a quite different character.