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Surrounded by snow, ice and polar bears / The vault that will save the world in the event of an apocalypse, inside it are stored "treasures" also from Albania
Written by SOT.COM.AL 25 Mars 2023
In the permafrost of the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic lies a mysterious vault that has always sparked many conspiracy theories. Surrounded by snow, ice and polar bears, the facility houses 1.2 million seed samples from every corner of the planet. In case of any catastrophe, apocalypse or natural disaster, this vault will prevent the permanent loss of plant species and agricultural culture developed by human society for more than 12,000 years.
After a similar seed bank in Aleppo was destroyed during the Syrian civil war, in 2008 the Global Seed Vault opened in the Norwegian Arctic. Although it is closed to the public, it recently launched a campaign where people can take a virtual tour to see the vast collection of tubers, rice, grains and other seeds.
"If you go inside the vault it looks like you are in a cathedral. It has high ceilings and echoes. When you enter the gallery to see the collections, the temperature is around -18C. Each seed is sealed in an airtight aluminum bag and stored in the box, where you can click for information.”
In theory, the seeds are safe, although the entrance to the facility was flooded in 2017, following a heat wave in Svalbard. However, experts say the deposits are buried deep enough in permafrost that they will be safe for centuries.
This week, for the first time, the vault received several new deposits of seeds from Albania, Croatia, North Macedonia and Benin, along with several wild strawberry varieties from a German research institute. Such plants could be the key to helping humanity feed itself if global warming reaches extreme levels.