A mining town north of the Arctic Circle and linked to a notorious Gulag

The icy abandoned streets of Vorkuta, the coldest and easternmost city in Europe

If you like hot and sunny weather, the least suitable place for you is probably in Vorkuta, in the Russian Komi Republic.

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This inhospitable city, located north of the Arctic Circle, was founded in 1936. Its foundation was linked to the creation of the Vorkutlag, a concentration camp for the infamous Soviet Gulag. Its construction in that place in 1932 was due to the existence in the area of coal deposits. The prisoners of Vorkuta were used by the Soviet communist dictatorship as slave labor for the extraction of that mineral, in a place that has the brand of being the coldest city in Europe strong>, with a record of up to −52ºC. Vorkuta is also the easternmost city in Europe, as it is there that the European part of the current Russian Federation ends.

2 million political prisoners and prisoners of war passed through the Vorkuta camp, including many Poles captured during the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, but also members of the Polish resistance such as strong> Edward Buca, Armia Krajowa captured by the Soviets in 1945 after fighting against the nazis.

In 1953, Buca would be one of the leaders of a prisoner revolt in Vorkuta , a few months after Stalin's death and after the arrest of Lavrenti Beria, the sinister head of the NKVD, the Stalinist political police . The revolt was shot down by the communists, leaving dozens dead. Buca managed to survive that captivity and in 1976 he ended up writing a very famous book about his experience there, entitled "Vorkuta". That terrible concentration camp was finally closed in 1962. Many former prisoners and their descendants still live in that city.

In 1960 it was built near the city of Vorkuta Sovetsky. It is a Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber base. The base is still active. As for the city, Vorkuta had about 200,000 inhabitants in 1989, many of them workers in the coal mines. However, in recent decades the city has suffered a sharp drop in population, reaching some 58,000 inhabitants, due to the closure of many of its mines because they were no longer profitable and no longer compensated to continue living in a place with such an extreme climate. This has caused Vorkuta to become part of a ghost town, as you can see in this video posted today by Ninurta:

You can see here some captures of the video. Here we see an overview of the Rudnik district, the abandoned and ruined part of the city, north of the Vorkuta River.

Abandoned buildings in the village of Komsomolsky, within the municipal perimeter of Vorkuta, northwest of the city's urban area.

An old car buried by snow. The average temperature in Vortkuta drops to -23.9ºC in February, with records such as -52ºC in December.

Abandoned residential buildings on the outskirts of Vorkuta. In three decades, the city has lost almost three-quarters of its population.

A freight train at the Vorkuta station. There is a railway line that connects this city with Moscow. The route covers a distance of 1,884 kilometers, taking almost 41 hours to reach its destination.

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