Glacier ice and firn cores have ecological and biotechnological importance. The present study is aimed at characterizing bacteria in crustal ice cores from Svalbard, the Arctic. Counts of viable isolates ranged from 10 to 7000?CFU/ml (mean 803?CFU/ml) while the total bacterial numbers ranged from 7.20?×?10(4) to 2.59?×?10(7) ?cells?ml(-1) (mean 3.12?×?10(6) ?cells?ml(-1) ). Based on 16S rDNA sequence data, the identified species belonged to seven species, namely Bacillus barbaricus, Pseudomonas orientalis, Pseudomonas oryzihabitans, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas syncyanea, Sphingomonas dokdonensis, and Sphingomonas phyllosphaerae, with a sequence similarity ranging between 93.5 and 99.9% with taxa present in the database. The isolates exhibited unique phenotypic properties, and three isolates (MLB-2, MLB-5, and MLB-9) are novel species, yet to be described. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on characterization of cultured bacterial communities from Svalbard ice cores. We conclude that high lipase, protease, cellulase, amylase, and urease activities expressed by most of the isolates provide a clue to the potential industrial applications of these organisms. These microbes, producing cold-adapted enzymes may provide an opportunity for biotechnological research.