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Magadan seen from the local mountains
Magadan seen from the local mountains
Flag of Magadan
Coat of arms of Magadan
Coat of arms
Anthem: none[2]
Location of Magadan
Magadan is located in Russia
Location of Magadan
Magadan is located in Magadan Oblast
Magadan (Magadan Oblast)
Coordinates: 59°34′N 150°48′E / 59.567°N 150.800°E / 59.567; 150.800Coordinates: 59°34′N 150°48′E / 59.567°N 150.800°E / 59.567; 150.800
Federal subjectMagadan Oblast[1]
Town status sinceJuly 14,[citation needed] 1939[3]
 • BodyTown Duma[4]
 • Head/Mayor[7]Andey Popov (Head),[5]
Yuri Fyodorovich Grishan (Mayor)[6]
 • Total295 km2 (114 sq mi)
70 m (230 ft)
 • Total95,982
 • Estimate 
92,782 (-3.3%)
 • Rank178th in 2010
 • Density330/km2 (840/sq mi)
 • Subordinated totown of oblast significance of Magadan[1]
 • Capital ofMagadan Oblast[11], town of oblast significance of Magadan[1]
 • Urban okrugMagadan Urban Okrug[12]
 • Capital ofMagadan Urban Okrug[12]
Time zoneUTC+11 (MSK+8 Edit this on Wikidata[13])
Postal code(s)[14]
685000–685005, 685007, 685017, 685021, 685024, 685030–685031, 685098–685099, 685700, 685960–685961
Dialing code(s)+7 4132
OKTMO ID44701000001
Town DayJuly 14; observed on the
third Saturday of July[15]
Twin townsJelgava, Anchorage, Tonghua, Zlatitsa, ShuangyashanEdit this on Wikidata

Magadan (Russian: Магадан, IPA: [məɡɐˈdan]) is a port town and the administrative center of Magadan Oblast, Russia, located on the Sea of Okhotsk in Nagayev Bay (within Taui Bay) and serving as a gateway to the Kolyma region. Population: 95,982 (2010 Census);[9] 99,399 (2002 Census);[16] 151,652 (1989 Census).[17]


Magadan was founded in 1930 in the Magadan River valley,[3] near the settlement of Nagayevo. During the Stalin era, Magadan was a major transit center for prisoners sent to labor camps. From 1932 to 1953, it was the administrative center of the Dalstroy organization—a vast and brutal forced-labor gold-mining operation and forced-labor camp system. The town later served as a port for exporting gold and other metals mined in the Kolyma region.[18] Its size and population grew quickly as facilities were rapidly developed for the expanding mining activities in the area. Town status was granted to it on July 14, 1939.[citation needed]

Magadan was visited by U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace in May 1944. He took an instant liking to his secret policeman host, admired handiwork done by prisoners, and later glowingly called the town a combination of Tennessee Valley Authority and Hudson's Bay Company.[19] Wallace's collaborative stance towards the Soviet Union discouraged the Democratic Party of the United States from renominating him as vice president later in the summer of 1944, helping lead to the selection of Harry Truman in his place.

Administrative and municipal status[edit]

Magadan is the administrative center of the oblast.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with the urban-type settlements of Sokol and Uptar, incorporated as the town of oblast significance of Magadan—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Magadan is incorporated as Magadan Urban Okrug.[12]

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Lenin Street, Magadan
Magadan airport

Shipbuilding and fishing are the major industries. The town has a seaport (fully navigable from May to December) and a small international airport, the Sokol Airport. There is also a small domestic airport nearby, Magadan 13. The unpaved Kolyma Highway leads from Magadan to the rich gold-mining region of the upper Kolyma River and then on to Yakutsk.

Magadan is very isolated. The nearest major city accessible by road is Yakutsk, 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) away via an unpaved road which is best used in the winter, especially since there is no bridge over the Lena River at Yakutsk. (The two choices are: ferry from Nizhny Bestyakh during the summer, when the rest of the road may not be passable due to standing water, or over the ice in the dead of winter).

The principal sources of income for the local economy are gold mining and fisheries. Recently, gold production has declined.[20] Fishing production, although improving from year to year, is still well below the allocated quotas, apparently as a result of an aging fleet.[21] Other local industries include pasta and sausage plants, and a distillery.[22] Although farming is difficult owing to the harsh climate, there are many public and private farming enterprises.

Culture and religion[edit]

Church of the Nativity

The town has a number of cultural institutions including the Regional Museum of Anthropology, a geological museum, a regional library and a university. The town has the new Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Trinity, a recently completed Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity and the Mask of Sorrow memorial, a large sculpture in memory of Stalin's victims, designed by Ernst Neizvestny. The Church of the Nativity is actually a part of the diocese of Anchorage, Alaska and ministers to the survivors of the labor camps. It is staffed by several priests and nuns.

The town figures prominently in the labour camp literature of Varlam Shalamov and in the eponymous song by Mikhail Krug, and was a focal point of the Long Way Round motorcycle journey made by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman and their team in 2004.


Ecologically situated in the Northeast Siberian taiga, the town's flora is made up of conifer trees, such as firs, larches and silver birches.[23] The city sits besides the Sea of Okhotsk in Nagayev Bay on both sides, and it is surrounded by mountains to the west and northeast. Permafrost and tundra cover most of the region. The growing season is only one hundred days long. [24]

The city of Magadan is on the same longitude of the greater western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, which lie on the eastern end of the 150th meridian east line, bordering the 151st meridian.


Magadan beach, July 2011

The climate of Magadan is subarctic (Köppen climate classification Dfc). Winters are prolonged and very cold, with up to six months of sub-zero high temperatures, so that the soil remains permanently frozen. Average temperatures on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk range from −22 °C (−8 °F) in January to +12 °C (54 °F) in July. Average temperatures in the interior range from −38 °C (−36 °F) in January to +16 °C (61 °F) in July.

Climate data for Magadan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 2.4
Average high °C (°F) −14.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.4
Average low °C (°F) −18.5
Record low °C (°F) −34.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 14
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 0.1 0.3 0.3 2.1 11 16 21 20 18 10 2 0.1 100.9
Average snowy days 16 14 15 15 6 0 0 0 0.2 8 17 16 107.2
Average relative humidity (%) 65 64 65 71 78 82 86 83 78 69 66 64 73
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.4 127.1 226.3 228.0 198.4 216.0 182.9 170.5 147.0 130.2 81.0 40.3 1,822.1
Source #1: Погода и Климат[25]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sunshine)[26]


Notable people[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Magadan is twinned with:



  1. ^ a b c d e f Law #1292-OZ
  2. ^ Article 4 of the Charter of Magadan does not specify any town symbols other than a flag and a coat of arms
  3. ^ a b c Vazhenin, p. 4
  4. ^ Charter of Magadan, Article 24
  5. ^ Official website of Magadan Town Duma. Andrey Anatolyevich Popov (in Russian)
  6. ^ Official website of Magadan's Mayor Office. Serey Vasilyevich Abramov, Mayor of Magadan (in Russian)
  7. ^ Charter of Magadan, Articles 33 and 35.1
  8. ^ Official website of Magadan's Mayor Office. Official Site of Magadan. Обновление материалов генерального плана 1994 г. Пояснительная записка. (in Russian)
  9. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Charter of Magadan Oblast, Article 38
  12. ^ a b c Law #489-OZ
  13. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  15. ^ Decision #49-D
  16. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  17. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  18. ^ Козлов, А. Г. (1989). Магадан. Конспект прошлого. Магаданское книжное издательство. p. 16. ISBN 5-7581-0066-8.
  19. ^ John C. Culver, John Hyde, American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace, 1 Sep 2001
  20. ^ Russian gold mine production declined four tonnes in 2006, Mineweb, 31 January 2007
  21. ^ New Russian Fishing Quotas Distribution System, Strategis international market reports, 28 August 2004
  22. ^ Magadan Region from Kommersant, Russia's Daily Online Archived October 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
  23. ^ Sakha Republic & Magadan Region is pine trees and rushing rivers by the Lonely Planet
  24. ^ THE SEA OF OKHOTSK by the National Geographic
  25. ^ "КЛИМАТ МАГАДАНА". Погода и Климат. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  26. ^ "Climatological Normals of Magadan". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved October 17, 2011.


  • Магаданская городская Дума. Решение №96-Д от 26 августа 2005 г. «Устав муниципального образования "Город Магадан"», в ред. Решения №61-Д от 15 сентября 2017 г. «О внесении изменений в Устав муниципального образования "Город Магадан"». Вступил в силу 1 января 2006 г. (за исключением отдельных положений). Опубликован: "Вечерний Магадан", №3(861), 19 января 2006 г. (Magadan Town Duma. Decision #96-D of August 26, 2005 Charter of the Municipal Formation of the "Town of Magadan", as amended by the Decision #61-D of September 15, 2017 On Amending the Charter of the Municipal Formation of the "Town of Magadan". Effective as of January 1, 2006 (with the exception of certain clauses).).
  • Магаданская городская Дума. Решение №49-Д от 1 июля 1999 г. «О установлении общегородского праздника "День города Магадана"». (Magadan Town Duma. Decision #49-D of July 1, 1999 On Establishing Town Holiday "Day of the Town of Magadan". ).
  • Магаданская областная Дума. Закон №1292-ОЗ от 9 июня 2010 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Магаданской области», в ред. Закона №1756-ОЗ от 9 июня 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Магаданской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Магаданской области"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: Приложение к газете "Магаданская правда", №63(20183), 16 июня 2010 г. (Magadan Oblast Duma. Law #1292-OZ of June 9, 2010 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Magadan Oblast, as amended by the Law #1756-OZ of June 9, 2014 On Amending the Law of Magadan Oblast "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Magadan Oblast". Effective as of the day which is 10 days after the official publication date.).
  • Магаданская областная Дума. №218-ОЗ 28 декабря 2001 г. «Устав Магаданской области», в ред. Закона №2185-ОЗ от 14 июня 2017 г. «О принятии поправки к Уставу Магаданской области». Вступил в силу по истечении десяти дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Магаданская правда", №201 (18919), 29 декабря 2001 г. (Magadan Oblast Duma. Law #218-OZ of December 28, 2001 Charter of Magadan Oblast, as amended by the Law #2185-OZ of June 14, 2017 On Adopting an Amendment to the Charter of Magadan Oblast. Effective as of the day ten days after the official publication date.).
  • Магаданская областная Дума. Закон №489-ОЗ от 6 декабря 2004 г. «О муниципальном образовании "город Магадан"», в ред. Закона №1578-ОЗ от 6 марта 2013 г. «О внесении изменения в статью 3 Закона Магаданской области "О муниципальном образовании "город Магадан"». Вступил в силу 31 декабря 2004 г.. Опубликован: "Магаданская правда", №140 (19364), 15 декабря 2004 г. (Magadan Oblast Duma. Law #489-OZ of December 6, 2004 On the Municipal Formation of the "Town of Magadan", as amended by the Law #1578-OZ of March 6, 2013 On Amending Article 3 of the Law of Magadan Oblast "On the Municipal Formation of the "Town of Magadan". Effective as of December 31, 2004.).
  • McGregor, E & Boorman, C: Long Way Round. Time Warner Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7515-3680-6
  • David J. Nordlander: Origins of a Gulag Capital: Magadan and Stalinist Control in the Early 1930s, Slavic Review, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Winter, 1998), pp. 791–812

External links[edit]

  • Б. П. Важенин (B. P. Vazhenin). "Магадан: к историческим истокам названия" (Magadan: The Historical Sources of Its Name). Российская академия наук, Дальневосточное отделение. Магадан, 2003.
  • Map of Magadan (in Russian)
  • Documentary *** GOLD*** - lost in Siberia [1] by Gerard Jacobs and Theo Uittenbogaard (VPRO/The Netherlands/1994) was filmed in the summer of 1993 in Magadan, along the Road of Bones, through Ust-Umshug and Susuman and at the Sverovostok Zoloto gold mine, Siberia, by the first foreign film crew ever, visiting the Kolyma District -which had been under control of the Soviet secret service, under the company name Dalstroj, for over 60 years.
  • The road up to the Kolyma river. Documentary: repressed in Magadan recall. To watch video.