MNN Galleries

15 of the most remote places on Earth

By: Angela Nelson on March 2, 2017, 9:02 a.m.
15 of 17

Longyearbyen, Norway

The world's northernmost settlement with more than 1,000 permanent residents is also the largest settlement of Svalbard, Norway. The few thousand people who call Longyearbyen home must abide by some unusual rules. First, it's illegal to be buried here because, according to Atlas Obscura, the permafrost and sub-zero temperatures "make it so that any dead bodies lying six feet under are perfectly preserved, as if mummified. Therefore, the government of Svalbard requires that any dead bodies must be flown by plane or shipped by boat to mainland Norway for burial. This law has been in effect since 1950."

Second, it's illegal to be homeless. All residents must have a street address, the New York Times reports. Third, anybody venturing outside the city limits of Longyearbyen must carry a weapon and know how to use it. This isn't because residents are afraid of crime; the six local police officers only investigated nine violent crimes in all of 2013. Instead, it's to fend off polar bears, which present a real danger, the Times reports.

Two more unique rules to follow: All houses have to be built on stilts, so when the island’s layer of permafrost melts in the summer, the houses don’t sink and slide away. And cats are banned in order to protect endangered Arctic birds, Atlas Obscura reports.