Inside Russia’s abandoned gulag town deep in the -50C Arctic where frozen homes in soulless tower blocks sell for 1p

Inside Russia’s abandoned gulag town deep in the -50C Arctic where frozen homes in soulless tower blocks sell for 1p
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A GULAG town in the icy tundras now sits frozen in time as it became Russia’s most depressing place.

Vorkuta is a cemetery of soulless tower blocks, where homes sell for as little as 1p to the few people that chose to embrace the “miserable” life at -50 degrees Celsius.

YouTube/@Dave Le Genda

Vorkuta, Russia, has become the country’s most depressed town as it’s marked by a dark past[/caption]

The settlement 11 miles from Vorkuta resembles a ghost town
Another building engulfed by the snow inside out

Sitting isolated above the Arctic Circle, Vorkuta residents routinely embark on a 20-hour train ride across the frozen tundra to reach the closest town with direct air links to Moscow.

The amount of daylight also varies dramatically throughout the year, contributing to the inhospitable conditions.

During the summer months, residents in Vorkuta live under the “midnight sun,” where the sun remains visible for 24 hours a day, in never-ending daylight.

But in winter, the city experiences the opposite phenomenon, known as the “polar night,” where people wake up and go to sleep in continuous darkness for weeks on end.

Vorkuta’s history is deeply intertwined with the Gulag system, as it was one of the largest forced labour camps in the Soviet Union.

Founded in the 1940s, the city was built by criminals and political prisoners, who were sent on a one-way ticket to work in the coal mines.

An entire mining infrastructure used to surround the urban municipality of Vorkuta.

Along the main coal mine near Vorkuta proper, 13 additional mines were established around the town.

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For each of these 13 mines, new settlements were founded to provide housing for its workers.

Some of these outposts even peaked at a population of five digits.

Snow covers every inch of the room, ceilings, walls, windows and everything in between
YouTube / @Dave Le Genda

An abandoned Soviet building in Vorkuta, Russia[/caption]

But the coal mining industry would then fall into disrepair in the 1980s, with a lot of the mines having their activities strongly reduced or shut down completely.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end to the Gulag system, prisoners and non-convicted coal miners suddenly found themselves with no job.

Since the 1980s, Vorkuta has suffered a steep population decline as its 150,000 inhabitants were reduced to less than 50,000.

The remaining families mainly live in the city centre of Vorkuta, leaving the rest of the town all but abandoned.

YouTuber Dave Le Genda ventured in a trip to Vorkuta in 2022 and quickly discovered why one could get an entire home for just 1p.

He said: “Because living here is absolutely miserable!”

“Walking around the streets definitely gives the impression of it being a dying town.

“The abandoned buildings make it feel like a ghost town.”

When asked about his life in Vorkuta, a local appearing to be in his early 20s explained: “In the winter it is pretty bad. Last winter was neary -50 degrees Celcius.”

Dave, whose real name is Davide, described the story of Vorkuta as “indeed very sad, but fascinating at the same time.”

The Italian wrote: “All areas of Vorkuta are full with old Soviet buildings that are now abandoned, with the local administration that sees no sense (but most importantly has no money for it) in tearing them down.

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“The result? From most streets, Vorkuta looks like a ghost town.”

Vorkuta and its vicinity are now a picture-perfect representation of post-Soviet decadence, where most streets are empty except for snow.

Aerial footage shows several abandoned brutalist buildings, distressing landscapes, as well as bleak piles of concrete and sombre Stalinist monuments.

Snow has blasted its way into forgotten homes as icicles cover staircases and stick out of window frames.

Shots also show abandoned vehicles blanketed with snow in a car park while apartment blocks appear painted white after being hit by blizzards.

Numerous Communist buildings now sit derelict scattered across the town.

An aerial view of a construction site in the coal-mining town Vorkuta blanketed by snow
Snow and ice appears to seep down the front of this abandoned building in the town
YouTube / @Dave Le Genda

Vorkuta and its vicinity are now a picture-perfect representation of post-Soviet decadence[/caption]


The town’s own Stalin monument, a USSR staple[/caption]

The thick snow buries and infiltrates anything in its path, seen in this image inside an abandoned building
Ice covers even the smallest details, such as this chandelier
YouTube/@Dave Le Genda

Vorkuta during its more lively days before the collapse of the USSR[/caption]

YouTube/@Dave Le Genda

Streets now lie empty except for snow[/caption]


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