Magadan Oblast (Russian: Магада́нская о́бласть, mah-gah-DAHN-skuh-yuh OH-blust’) is a region in Russian Far East. It borders Chukotka and Kamchatka in the northeast, Khabarovsk Krai in the southwest, and Yakutia in the west and north.
- 1 Magadan — the region's capital and largest city by far
- 2 Kadykchan — abandoned coal mining city on the road to Yakutsk
- 3 Ola
- 4 Susuman — another city on the road to Yakutsk, which has what as close as it can get to tourism infrastructure in this lonely patch of taiga
- 5 Ust-Omchug
- 6 Yagodnoye — mining town close to a lake with some of the best fishing in whole Russian Far East
Magadan Oblast is a region rich in minerals and human suffering. The areas now known as Magadan Oblast and Chukotka were home to the Kolyma Gulag, a network of work-camps the size of France where approximately 500,000-1,000,000 men, women, and children died as a result of overwork, malnutrition, the cold, and human brutality. Anyone interested in the Kolyma gulags, or just more generally in human nature and great literature, should read Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales.
Russian is likely the only language you will encounter here.
There is no railway connecting to Magadan Oblast and there is only one road, the Kolyma Highway, leading from the west, from Yakutsk. This road dirt or gravel for most of its length, is just over 2025 km long and crosses 3 mountain ranges. As of 2008, the all-season connection from Kyubyume to Ust-Nera was completed, meaning that the road is now passable by 2-wheel drive cars, though few would then be capable of the return trip. When the ice breaks during April and freezes during September river crossings at Yakutsk and Khandyga are only available by helicopter. With the exception of a few mining towns, long sections of the road are uninhabited, and most towns have no police presence. In particular, the 500 km section between Yagodnoye and the outlying settlements of Magadan is home to fewer than 4000 people.
Most traffic on the Kolyma Highway is mining trucks or trucks carrying building materials to and from Magadan. Hiring a taxi or jeep and driver costs about US$100/day.
- Dneprovsky Mine — the best preserved gulag site
- The Mask of Sorrow (in Magadan) is both a memorial to the victims of Kolyma and an inspired sculpture.
- Diving under the ice 40 m down.
- Snowmobiling to the lake Mak Mak.
- Sailing to the bays, 1–8 days tours.
- DVS-Tour offers tours of the region focused on historical guidance to the gulag network and also some city sight-seeing. English or German-speaking guide is provided. Magadan, 685000/ 3 Lenin St, office 450, Tel.:(413-22)2-32-96, fax.:(413-22)2-11-95, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Magtur. Rafting on the rivers Ola, Yama, Kolyma . Trip longevity—8 days. Mototour Golden ring of Kolyma English-speaking guide is provided. Rest base Magtur 1200-1000 руб for a couple of days on the Sea of Okhotsk shore. office #216, 13, Parkovaya st., Tel: +7 4132 622907, Fax: +7 4132 699745, E-mail: email@example.com
Getting out of Magadan Oblast is best done by plane, but it is possible to venture down the Kolyma Highway, a long, lonely road into Yakutia as far as Yakutsk. This route is only really passable in the winter months of November–March and summer June–August, though traffic exists on some sections nearly all year round.