magadan – магадан

The winter Road of Bones 48-second ad reel:

The summer Road of Bones 2-minute ad reel:

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 traveler`s eye is the Mask of Sorrow monument erected in 1991 in memory of gulag prisoners perished in Kolyma`s camps. A grey concrete face with symbolic figures.

Names of 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.

The Nagaev Bay.

To the first settlers.

An old jetty.

A woolly mammoth made of automotive metal scrap.

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

MAGADAN oblast – МАГАДАНская область

gulag dneprovsky – гулаг днепровский

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

At some point the road turns into a water torrent.

Views are nice from any high ground.

The gulag is quite well preserved.

Watch towers spectacularly tower over the surrounding hills.

Views seen by gulag guards from one of watch towers.

The climate is truly harsh. The night on July 12, 2023 was freezing. Puddles covered with ice.

GULAG butugychag – ГУЛАГ бутугычаг

Gulag Butugychag is located 310 km north of Magadan along the Tenkin road. The gulag used to mine tin and uranium from 1937 until 1956. Butugychag consisted of several camps. It occupies a big territory. Rugged terrain makes it difficult to move around the area. Ruins of big production facilities are easy to reach as they stand close to the main Tenkin road.

A regular 4WD vehicle in good weather can go 3,5 km into the wilderness. Then one has to walk 4 km to see the former uranium ore dressing factory.

A uranium lake in the foreground.

A shovel and barbed wire are symbols of involuntary labor.

tenkin road – тенкинская трасса

Magadan is the end of the Road of Bones which begins in Yakutsk.  Having visited Magadan, we can make a U-turn and drive back exploring the so-called Tenkin road which branches off the main Kolyma highway. The road is less developed, more scenic and almost empty.  Below are some views of the Tenkin road.

September 2, 2012.  Gavryushka Pass is already covered with snow.

The half-abandoned town of Ust-Omchug (Усть-Омчуг).

The half-abandoned town of Omchak (Омчак).

Watch for washouts.

Some views of the Kolyma highway. The pass nicknamed "My grandfather's bald head"

A tea break.

susuman – сусуман

Susuman is a small gold prospectors town 630 km from Magadan. We stay overnight here when traveling the Road of Bones. There is a hotel and three cafes. The main attraction is what I call "the Ben Laden memorial". It is a fuselage of an Ilyushin-18 airplane sticking out of a building.

The oldest building in Susuman miraculously survived 80 years of harsh climate.

ghost town of kadykchan – город-призрак кадыкчан

There are many abandoned settlements in Magadan Oblast. The town of Kadykchan is the biggest of them. The town was built around a coal mine that was closed after an explosive accident. Residents left it in late 1990s. Below is Kadykchan as seen from the Kolyma highway followed by some close-ups. Kadykchan is 90 km from Susuman, i.e. 720 km from Magadan.

The closed mine that gave life to the town.

An administrative building with what used to be Lenin in the forefront.

Tony and Susan Childs (USA) enjoy exploring Kadykchan.

Used to be a grocery store.

Used to be a primary school.

Used to be a high school.

Used to be a gym.

Used to be a movie theater.

Harris Legome (USA) enjoys exploring Kadykchan.

Curious red foxes sometimes come to the road asking for chocolate sweets. I am serious. They do eat chocolate sweets.

A short video of a red fox eating chocolate sweets.

The Arkagalinsky Pass 600 km from Susuman. To prisoners of Kolyma: few of us were guilty, most were innocent.

The 745th kilometer of Magadan-Yakutsk road. An American bomber A-20 "Boston" crashed here in 1942 being ferried to the Soviet-German front from Alaska.

The Delyankir River makes a border between Magadan Oblast and Sakha (Yakutia) Republic.

The road close to Magadan is paved.