The town where people are not allowed to die

Maya Devi

Longyearbyen, a remote Norwegian city, is a great place nestled within ice-covered beautiful valleys.

But a few people find it dangerous due to its polar-bear attacks and slippery landscapes. The city is one of the northernmost cities in the world and has a population of around 2,000 people. Since the city doesn’t see the sun much, it's usually cold and windy.

However, these aren’t the reasons why the city is famous. People are prohibited from dying here, as a result, taking one’s last breath here is illegal.

The history behind this rule dates back to the 1950s when the Longyearbyen locals learned that the dead bodies that were buried there weren’t decomposing. Scientists who visited the city found that the bodies of those who died from Spanish flu weren’t decomposed. Also, the lethal virus was still present in their bodies even after years.

This is because the weather in the city, which is made up of glaciers and permafrost, is cold. Mainly, the temperature in the city could go down to 3-degree Fahrenheit and can go as high as 47-degree Fahrenheit.

When a Longyearbyen resident becomes severely ill, he or she is shifted to a nearby city and buried there after death. As a result, the city hasn’t used its cemetery in over 70 years!

Not the least, pregnant women who are closer to their due dates are also moved to another city because Longyearbyen doesn’t have a hospital. Usually, they fly to the mainland weeks before the due date and return only weeks after the delivery.

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I have done my graduation in history and politics. I write unique and interesting articles focused on our day to day life.


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