Founded in 1929 Magadan and the surrounding Kolyma region is most closely linked to the terror of the GULAG. When coming to Magadan by road, the first sight that catches a car traveler`s eye is the Mask of Sorrow monument erected in 1991 in memory of gulag prisoners perished in Kolyma`s camps. A grey stone face with minifigures.

Names of involuntary labour camps and emblems of all major religions are along the small hillside down from the monument.

A weeping woman on the reverse side of the monument.

Nowadays Magadan is a quiet, compact town tucked between hills and facing the Sea of Okhotsk.

First settlers

Old jetty

Magadan is the end of the Road of Bones which begins in Yakutsk. Some bikers and cyclists have their gear flown to Magadan first and then they do the Road of Bones starting from Magadan and finishing in Yakutsk. This exercise can be rather costly and problematic for a car traveler. Therefore, we either load our vehicle on a ship bound for Vladivostok or make a U-turn and drive back exploring the sections of the road we missed on the way to Magadan. The so-called Tenkin road which branches off the main Kolyma highway. Below are some views of the Tenkin road.

The regional museum has a good collection of gulag exhibits on display.

The museum is good but it is not a real thing. It is a waste of time to drive as far as Magadan and not to see any ruins of a gulag. One of them, the so-called gulag Dneprovsky, is located 300 km north of Magadan. It is relatively easy to reach by a 4WD vehicle in good weather. The gulag used to mine tin and was closed in 1955. My grandfather spent 9 years there as a prisoner. He was extremely lucky to survive the ordeal.

The track leading to gulag Dneprovsky is very scenic and wet even in dry weather.

At some point the road just turns into a water torrent.

The gulag is quite well preserved.

Watch towers spectaculously tower over the surrounding hills.

Ghost town of kadykchan

There are many abondoned settlements in Magadan oblast. The town of Kadykchan is the biggest of them. Residents left it in 1990s as local coal mines were closed. Below is Kadykchan as seen from the Kolyma highway followed by some close-ups.

A small detour to the town of Susuman gives you a chance to see a quirky structrue which is called by locals "the monument to Ben Laden".

To prisoners of Kolyma: few of us were guilty, most were innocent.