For other uses, see Magadan (disambiguation).
Magadan (English)
Магадан (Russian)
-  Town[1]  -

Magadan seen from the local mountains

Location of Magadan Oblast in Russia
Location of Magadan in 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
Coat of arms
Anthem none[2]
Town Day July 14; observed on the
third Saturday of July[3]
Administrative status (as of June 2014)
Country Russia
Federal subject Magadan Oblast[1]
Administratively subordinated to town of oblast significance of Magadan[1]
Administrative center of Magadan Oblast,[4] town of oblast significance of Magadan[1]
Municipal status (as of March 2013)
Urban okrug Magadan Urban Okrug[5]
Administrative center of Magadan Urban Okrug[5]
Head/Mayor[6] Andey Popov (Head),[7]
Yuri Fyodorovich Grishan (Mayor)[8]
Representative body Town Duma[9]
Area (2004) 295 km2 (114 sq mi)[10]
Population (2010 Census) 95,982 inhabitants[11]
- Rank in 2010 178th
Population (January 2014 est.) 101,045 inhabitants[12]
Density 325/km2 (840/sq mi)[13]
Time zone MAGT (UTC+11:00)[14]
Founded 1930[15]
Town status since July 14, 1939[15]
Postal code(s)[16] 685000–685005, 685007, 685017, 685021, 685024, 685030, 685031, 685098, 685099, 685700, 685960, 685961
Dialing code(s) +7 4132
Official website
Magadan on Wikimedia Commons

Magadan (Russian: Магадан; IPA: [məɡɐˈdan]) is a port town and the administrative center of Magadan Oblast, Russia, located on the Sea of Okhotsk in Nagayevo Bay in Taui Bay and serving as a gateway to the Kolyma region. Population: 95,982(2010 Census);[11] 99,399(2002 Census);[17] 151,652(1989 Census).[18]


Magadan was founded in 1930 in the Magadan River valley,[15] 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.[19] 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.

Magadan was temporarily transformed into a Potemkin village to mark an official visit 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. 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

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.[5]


Lenina Street, Magadan
Magadan airport

Ship building and fishing are the major industries. The town has a seaport (fully navigable from May to December) and a small international airport, Sokol Airport. There is also a small 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 available 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

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.


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. Permafrost and tundra cover most of the region. The growing season is only one hundred days long.

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 72.6
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[23]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sunshine)[24]

Notable people

Twin towns and sister cities

Magadan is twinned with:



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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. Decision #49-D
  4. Charter of Magadan Oblast, Article 38
  5. 1 2 3 Law #489-OZ
  6. Charter of Magadan, Articles 33 and 35.1
  7. Official website of Magadan Town Duma. Andrey Anatolyevich Popov (Russian)
  8. Official website of Magadan's Mayor Office. Serey Vasilyevich Abramov, Mayor of Magadan (Russian)
  9. Charter of Magadan, Article 24
  10. Official website of Magadan's Mayor Office. Official Site of Magadan. Обновление материалов генерального плана 1994 г. Пояснительная записка. (Russian)
  11. 1 2 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. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  12. Magadan Oblast Territorial Branch of the Federal State Statistics Service. Оценка численности населения по районам на 1 января 2014 г. и в среднем за 2013 г. (Russian)
  13. The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2010 Census population by the area specified in the infobox. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox does not necessarily correspond to the area of the entity proper or is reported for the same year as the population.
  14. Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №271-ФЗ от 03 июля 2016 г. «О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #271-FZ of July 03, 2016 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
  15. 1 2 3 Vazhenin, p. 4
  16. Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (Russian)
  17. 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). Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  18. Demoscope Weekly (1989). "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]. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  19. Козлов, А. Г. Магадан. Конспект прошлого. Магаданское книжное издательство (1989) ISBN 5-7581-0066-8. p. 16.
  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. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
  23. "КЛИМАТ МАГАДАНА". Погода и Климат. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  24. "Climatological Normals of Magadan". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2011-10-17.


Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Magadan.
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