Kadykchan Abandoned Town, Magadan Oblast, Russia 

Deep in the Magadan region in remote Siberia, a coal mining town known as Kadykchan was built by Gulag prisoners during World War II. At its peak, the town housed nearly 11,000 residents. By the early 1990s, the decreased demand for coal and the fall of the Soviet Union would see the town start to decrease in importance. A mine explosion in 1996 killed six people and prompted ownership to shut down the mines altogether.

Today, there are fewer than 200 people left in this remote town.  There are no services, winters are extremely harsh, and the only way into town requires traveling on a ghost highway.

Through most of the twentieth century, coal was a key energy source for the Russians. After a large deposit of coal was discovered in Far East Siberia, government authorities ordered Gulag workers to construct a town at the site of the discovery. But to get to the area Gulag workers were also required to build the Kolyma highway,a road so remote and hazardous in construction it was named the Road of Bones.

Kadykchan is completely isolated from both eastern and western Russia. The closest city center is a several-day drive, and for much of the year weather conditions make the highway impassible.

Epic Russia Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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