Zilov Gap

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The Zilov Gap was a 400 mile (640 km) roadless section in Central Siberia where, before the completion of the Chita-Khabarovsk highway (M58), there was no east-west road - the only communication was via the Trans-Siberian Railway.[1]

The Zilov Gap was notorious for the muddy terrain during the rasputitsa, where 300 metres progress could take 3 hours[2] and its numerous serious river crossings; it posed a major challenge to long-distance overland expeditions and nearly caused the end of the Mondo Enduro expedition; the Long Way Round trip avoided it altogether.[3]

There is a well established road route round the north of Lake Baikal which follows the Baikal Amur Mainline line.[4]

There is a new road from Khabarovsk to Chita which was under construction in 2005, see article (with link to map in Russian) [5] and photos.[6] The remaining 2 km gap on the southern route was about to be filled in. The road was then used to export used cars from Japan.[4][6]

Eastbound travellers on M58 highway would load their cars onto cars of the Trans-Siberian Railroad at Chernyshevsk for the 800-km trip to Magdagachi (at least this was the case in 2001.[7]). The Chernyshevsk-Magdachi gap is just north of the northernmost part of Manchuria.


  1. ^ Vince, Austin; Bloom, Louis et al. (2006) Mondo Enduro. Ripping Yarns.com. ISBN 1-904466-28-1.
  2. ^ Times Educational Supplement Magazine, 23 March 2007, pp8-10.
  3. ^ McGregor, Ewan;Boorman, Charlie (2004) Long Way Round. Time Warner Publishing. ISBN 0-7515-3680-6.
  4. ^ a b Simon McCarthy (by motorcycle); 2002
  5. ^ Practical details of driving through Russia and Siberia; 2005
  6. ^ a b Photos of new road from Khabarovsk to Chita (large file)
  7. ^ Ian Frazier, "Travels in Siberia—II," New Yorker, August 10, 2009, p. 57.