The Forgotten Whaling Station of Grytviken in South Georgia (PHOTOS)

grytviken-abandoned-south-georgia (All images via Wikimedia Commons)

Even in the most distant corners of the world, the ruins of man’s industry are abundant. One of the most haunting locations is the abandoned settlement of Grytviken, a forgotten whaling station founded in 1904 by Norwegian sea captain Carl Anton Larsen. Serviced by 300 men during its heyday, the productive station took 195 whales during its first season alone, spearheading a highly profitable trade that saw every part of the animal, from blubber to meat to bones, put to use.

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The extensive facilities at Grytviken were constructed by a team of 60 Norwegians on a site previously occupied by sealers, who had left behind numerous artifacts, including British-built try-pots for boiling seal oil. But the station closed in 1966 when whale stocks dwindled to dangerously low numbers.

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Today, Grytviken is a haunting ghost town on the shores of King Edward Cove, a collection of decaying buildings, vintage oil tanks, silent processing plants and abandoned whaling ships. Far beyond the reaches of vandals, it remains frozen in time. The South Georgia Museum, accessible to cruise ship tourists, is located within the former house of the whaling facility manager and his family.

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The isolated settlement, location within the British overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, is also the final resting place of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, who used Grytviken when planning the rescue of his crew from the stricken vessel Endurance in 1915. The explorer died from a heart attack while at sea in 1922, and was posthumously returned to South Georgia. His grave lies near the Norwegian church, alongside those of whalers who died on the island.

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grytviken-abandoned-south-georgia-14 (Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

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